Husain Haqqani can’t be forced to come back: Legal experts

Say extradition will not be possible even if the SC demands it.


Qaiser Zulfiqar July 22, 2012

ISLAMABAD:


Top legal experts are convinced that former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani will not return to Pakistan in the wake of the damning Memo commission report, which squarely pinned the blame on him for authoring the seditious memo.


According to experts, Haqqani is well aware of the limited options before the Supreme Court in the case.

“I know him personally; he will not come,” said senior advocate Raza Kazim, adding: “Global realities are in favour of Haqqani – therefore he is safe.”

When asked by The Express Tribune what options were available to the court in case Haqqani’s requests of exempting him from hearings are turned down and he refuses to appear, Kazim replied, “The court can serve him, at maximum, with a contempt of court notice or it can ask the government to bring him back.” Beyond that, he argued, the options are limited.

Kazim added that the fate of the new Contempt of Court Act is yet to be decided by the court, but in the meantime, the government would not force him to come back – even if it was ordered to do so by the apex court.

The memo commission, comprising of three chief justices of the Balochistan, Sindh and Islamabad high courts, had submitted its findings in June on the memorandum sent to the then Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen through Gen (retd) James Logan Jones, former US National Security Advisor. The memo sought US help against the Pakistan Army.

Meanwhile, advocate Salman Akram Raja said, “The commission’s report is not worth more than an investigation by a low-ranking police official,” adding, “According to legal procedure, the Supreme Court will ask the government to register a sedition case against Haqqani.”

Raja said Haqqani will be tried in the trial court if the government registers a case against him on the apex court’s orders.

He was also of the opinion that if Haqqani refused to come back, the most the Supreme Court could do was to serve him a contempt of court notice.

Advocate Babar Sattar said that though the commission has submitted the report, Haqqani has not yet been convicted – an important difference because it means he is not an absconder yet and can, therefore, not be extradited.

Sattar also made it clear that no extradition treaty exists between the US and the Pakistani government, which makes the case for extradition even weaker.

Another senior advocate, Khalid Anwar, said that since the former ambassador to the US has strong ties with the US establishment, Washington was highly unlikely to cooperate with Islamabad if it requested Haqqani’s custody.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2012. 

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COMMENTS (8)

Khalid | 8 years ago | Reply

Judiciary pundits claim that Hussain Haqqani was, and will be, safe in Pakistan despite the media and political lynching he has already undergone. The report notes: “It is also clear that Mr Haqqani enjoyed excellent relations with the Government (of Pakistan) and had the singular honour of residing in the Prime Minister’s House when he came to Pakistan. Therefore, in addition to the compliance with our orders directing the Government to provide complete security to him, Mr Haqqani being the Prime Minister’s guest would have been well protected, and would not have apprehended restrictions placed on his departure from Pakistan by the Government placing his name on the exit control list (ECL).” With utmost respect, one must submit that the Commission treated Haqqani’s personal safety issue in the most cavalier manner. If they were serious to provide him safety, they should have investigated who confiscated the then ambassador, Haqqani’s passport upon his arrival in Islamabad on November 20, 2012. The Pakistan People’s Party government or the SC had not put him on the ECL. And then the passport mysteriously surfaced on the dining table in the Prime Minister House’s annexe when the SC allowed Haqqani to travel.

Mirza | 8 years ago | Reply

HH has never been a US citizen. These are the lies spread even before the Memo case was manufactured. It is no secret that HH is a Pakistani citizen but like C. Nisar, IK and many his wife is a dual citizen of USA. Just like the Rehman Malik case, Memo is a whole lot of nothing and a big waste of time and national resources. Three HC CJ chase an open enemy of Pakistan to record his statement. Yet they do not touch cases that are pending for decades without a hearing. When the Memo case started even a kid knew what would be the verdict. Yet HH was allowed to leave Pakistan by the same court! Another replay of Ray Davis case by the judiciary and a big waste like suspending Malik and forcing him to resign only to come back re-elected! After his extensions end, this same court would allow HH to come and live in Pakistan with full honor.

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