IHC tells defence to end arguments for alleged Da’ish facilitator

Court directs to provide counsel with case records


Our Correspondent May 10, 2017
Court directs to provide counsel with case records. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday directed the counsel for a US citizen of Pakistani origin, who is facing charges of facilitating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Da’ish), to present final arguments on May 15.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui further ordered court officials to provide case record to the petitioner’s counsel and directed him to present his arguments at the next date of hearing of the case.

At the last hearing in the case, Justice Siddiqui - at the request of the petitioner’s counsel - had sought case record, including a district magistrate’s inquiry report which had recommended that the suspect, Talha Haroon, be extradited to America.

On March 27, Justice Siddiqui had stayed the extradition process initiated by the district administration of Islamabad after Talha’s father had approached the high court and sought its intervention to stop the process.

Petitioner Haroon Rashid, through his counsel Tariq Asad, contended that Talha had been falsely accused of being a fugitive. Rashid had made the interior ministry secretary, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director general, Adiala Jail superintendent and district administration as respondents in his petition.

Interior ministry’s reply

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior submitted its para-wise comments in the case wherein the ministry said that the suspect was not a Pakistani citizen.

“Talha Haroon (petitioner’s son) is not a citizen of Pakistan, therefore, no fundamental rights can be accrued under the Constitution of Pakistan,” the ministry stated.

The ministry told the court that Talha was a US Citizen by birth and that at no point had he applied to forgo his US nationality in favour of a Pakistani nationality. Moreover, the ministry said that Talha had entered Pakistan on a visa.

Further, the ministry said that internal politics of the USA were not relevant in this matter.

While referring to the magistrate’s inquiry report, the ministry submitted that “sufficient incriminating documentary evidence was available on the record and it could safely conclude that prima facie a case is made out against the accused, therefore, the accused may be extradited to the United States”.

The ministry urged the court to dismiss the petition, terming it meritless and based on false and frivolous grounds.

Petitioner’s case

Rashid, through his counsel, said that the suspect had committed no offence in the United States, but while he was in Pakistan, he had been falsely accused of conspiring with others living in the USA to allegedly commit a criminal offence after returning to America.

In the petition, Asad said US President Donald Trump had a biased and prejudiced policy against Muslims and in case the petitioner’s son was extradited to the USA, his life as guaranteed under Article 9 of the Constitution, may be in grave danger.

In the petition, Rashid disclosed that he along with his family had been settled in Pakistan for over a decade and under the prevailing circumstances, Talha had no intention of returning to the US.

In the circumstances, Asad urged the court to pass an order for the prisoner to be discharged. He also requested the court to pass a stay order against the extradition Talha till the final adjudication of the matter, which was accepted at a previous hearing.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2017.

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