Senior & Managing Partner of ABS & Co represented Pakistan as co-agent along with Pakistan’s Ambassador before the ICJ in proceedings filed by Republic of Marshal Island (RMI) in Obligations concerning Negotiations relating to Cessation of the Nuclear Arms Race and to Nuclear Disarmament (Republic of Marshal Islands v. Pakistan).
The court recalled that Marshal Islands field an application against Pakistan alleging failure to fulfill obligations concerning negotiation to cease nuclear arms race to nuclear disarmament. The outcome of the case was being viewed with great concern in Pakistan.
In the counter memorial filed by Pakistan several objections to the jurisdiction of the court and the admissibility of the application of the Marshal Islands was raised by the agent of Pakistan. The Court first considered Pakistan’s objections based on the alleged absence of the dispute at the time of filing of the application. Referring to the statement by the Marshal Islands in a conference the Court observed that it did not establish if Pakistan was in breach of its obligations. Pakistan in its submissions before the Court had also addressed extensive arguments and claimed that it was not a party to the NPT therefore obligations under Article 6 would not be applicable. Pakistan also argued that it is a responsible nuclear state and the possession of nuclear weapons is in exercise of its right of self-defense given the peculiar circumstances of the subcontinent.
After considering Pakistan’s submission the court upheld by 9 votes to 7 the objections to jurisdiction raised by Pakistan. Further, the court found by 10 votes to 6 that it cannot proceed to the merits of the case. The favorable verdict in RMI case remains the only victory of Pakistan in the ICJ so far in the last 70 years.