ISLAMABAD : The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has granted bail on medical grounds to a senior Pakistani national, who is languishing in Adiala Jail for the past four and a half years, in a case pertaining to alleged corruption of $30 million in the USA.
The USA had requested the Pakistan government that Mujahid Pervaiz, now 70, be kept in confinement till his extradition. However, according to Section 12 of the Extradition Act, 1972, an accused has to be extradited within two months after his confinement, but in this case nearly five years have passed.
The alleged offender furnished bail bonds to the tune of Rs1 million with two sureties to the satisfaction of the IHC deputy registrar (judicial).
He was arrested on October 14, 2015 after his arrest warrants were issued on April 29 the same year by the additional deputy commissioner, Islamabad who had been appointed as the “Enquiry Magistrate” vide order dated April 17 issued by the Ministry of Interior in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 7 of the Extradition Act, 1972.
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According to a court order authored by Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, the alleged offender would have to adhere to three conditions imposed by the court if he desires to keep the bail intact. The offender will not leave Islamabad Capital Territory without the permission of the court, he shall appear before the deputy registrar, Islamabad on a fortnightly basis and would appear before the court on every date of hearing. “In the event, the applicant violates any of these conditions, the Ministry of Interior and/or the Federal Investigation Agency may apply for recall of this bail granting order.”
The order further stated, “The USA had made a request for the applicant’s (alleged offender) extradition from Pakistan. The applicant was alleged to have been involved in offences related to corruption in the USA. He was wanted to stand trial in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Bronx.”
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The petitioner’s counsel Qaiser Imam had submitted that the applicant has been “in judicial lock-up since the past four and a half years; that although the writ petition filed by the applicant against the report of the Enquiry Magistrate was dismissed and so was the applicant’s intra court appeal, the federal government has unduly delayed his extradition; that the applicant has been incarcerated for a period longer than he can serve in jail if convicted in the USA”.
Advocate Imam submitted that the applicant is more likely to contract Covid-19 as he is almost 71 years of age and a cardiac patient.
“Due to the injunctive orders passed by this court, the applicant could not be extradited to the USA. However, after the dismissal of intra court appeal No 242/2018, there was nothing preventing the federal government from extraditing the applicant,” the court order stated. “The matter had been placed before the federal cabinet but no decision was taken because the agenda item had been dropped.”
The court order reads that the documents appended with the petition show that “he suffers from cardiac ailment and has been incarcerated for almost four and a half years. Prima facie, the intent behind Section 12 of the Extradition Act, 1972 is that a fugitive offender should be discharged if he is not conveyed out of Pakistan two months after he has been taken into custody to await his surrender.”
According to the court order, the learned assistant attorney general brought on record an e-mail dated April 3, 2020 from the Embassy of USA, Islamabad to the FIA, according to which, there would be a delay in the ability of the USA to take him into custody and transfer him to the USA due to Covid-19. The hearing will be held on May 19.
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