ISLAMABAD: The United Kingdom has sought additional evidence from Pakistan to consider its request regarding extradition of former finance minister Ishaq Dar, who was declared a proclaimed offender in a corruption case filed on order of the apex court in July 2017.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar confirmed that authorities in UK, where Dar has been living for over one year, have sought additional evidence against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader.
“Required information will be shared with them in the first week of July. Even now we have got more evidence against Dar. Earlier, Pakistan had already responded 22 questions raised by the UK,” he told The Express Tribune.
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Akbar said Dar’s case is not ‘politically motivated’ as it was initiated by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the charges of corruption and money laundering, adding that now Dar has to prove before the UK authorities that the government has registered a politically motivated case against him.
“We signed MoU with the UK authorities regarding the extradition of Ishaq Dar on May 24. After receiving additional evidence, they will present Pakistan’s request for Dar’s extradition before a magistrate. So far three Pakistani individuals had been extradited from UK,” he said.
MoU signed between the governments of Pakistan and the United Kingdom on the extradition of former finance minister Ishaq Dar. SOURCE: AUTHOR
Another government official said process of Dar’s extradition might be delayed due to the UK’s internal political crisis. The official said the government is going to promulgate an ordinance to revoke capital punishment against individuals to be extradited from states where death sentence has been abolished.
“Draft of the ordinance has already been prepared and it will be promulgated soon after the postponement of National Assembly’s session,” he added.
He said capital punishment will also not be awarded in the matters where evidence is shared by the states, concerned over death sentence. He, however, said it is not possible to extradite the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain as he has already got asylum.
Shahzad Akbar confirmed that an insertion will be made in Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) that capital punishment will not be applicable in the case wherein an undertaking (certificate) is given by Pakistan to the foreign country that the extradited accused will not be hanged in Pakistan.
However, one section of lawyers believes that proposed insertion will be challenged in the court.
Barrister Asad Rahim said Pakistan’s domestic law is sovereign, and not beholden to foreign jurisdictions. In view of this, the government of Pakistan needs to evaluate its requests on a case-to-case basis as per standard practice, rather than attempt a catch-all amendment.
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“As it is, an amendment will not expedite the extraditions of many high-profile persons sought by the government, because their alleged offences do not warrant capital punishment back home anyway.”
Another lawyer Taimur Malik, who has expertise in international law, said under the laws of most western jurisdictions capital punishment is not allowed and therefore they cannot extradite individuals to a country which has capital punishment.
“This move signifies that there is some preliminary agreement with some western countries regarding extradition of Pakistani nationals convicted by courts in Pakistan,” he added.
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