Prison-break: SHC grants bail to fleeing convict arrested in South Africa

The convict had allegedly been released from Karachi central jail without completing his jail term

Our Correspondent July 13, 2015
The convict had allegedly been released from Karachi central jail without completing his jail term. PHOTO: PAKISTANTODAY

KARACHI: A fleeing Pakistani convict, who was arrested in South Africa following his release from jail without serving the complete sentence for the murder of a millionaire's son in Britain, was granted protective bail by the Sindh High Court (SHC) to return and face trial in the country.

Rizwan Habib Alvi, who was arrested in Quitos after he allegedly managed to get illegally released from Karachi's central jail before the expiry of his jail term, had approached the high court for protective bail through his attorney. The premature release of Alvi had reportedly led to the cancellation of the prisoners' exchange treaty between the UK and Pakistan.

Advocate Anwar Mansoob Qureshi said that the applicant's name was put on the exit control list by the interior ministry after reports emerged regarding his alleged release from prison without serving the complete term.

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Lawyer said the applicant was currently in Ecuador Quitos, South Africa, and intended to appear before the special court at Rawalpindi for bail, but the court had already issued non-bailable warrants for his arrest. He was booked in FIR 24/2014 registered under Section 201, 222, 420, 468, 471, 109, read with Section 5(2) and 47 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1949.

The court was informed that the Federal Investigation Agency's crime circle staff had registered an FIR against the petitioner, who had served his complete term in jail and was subsequently released.

He argued that there was precedence in which the superior courts had granted bail to applicants in similar cases. Therefore, Alvi's case may also be treated on the same footing and protective bail may be granted to avoid arrest, the lawyer pleaded.

A single bench, headed by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, granted 14 days protective bail till July 26 to the applicant against a surety of Rs200,000 to be submitted to the Nazir (official) of the SHC.

Release documents

In April, Alvi's brother, Zeeshan Habib Alvi, had approached the high court, seeking direction for the home and prison authorities to provide documents regarding his extradition and jail term in Karachi to secure his release from South Africa.

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Alvi was given 18 years in jail by the UK Criminal Court in February 2004 in a case of murder and deception of property.

"On the request of the federal government and after due process of law for extradition of the Pakistanis convicted abroad, the petitioner's brother was shifted to Pakistan after serving some term in the UK prison," the petitioner had claimed in the plea.

He maintained that his brother was shifted to Karachi central jail between September and October, 2009. "While serving his term in a British jail, he had been trying incessantly to prove his innocence through UK ministers and organisations," he claimed, adding that authorities had told Alvi to complete the remaining term in his homeland.

Advocate Qureshi maintained that his client's brother served the remaining sentence of six years in his homeland. Subsequently, he was released from the Karachi central jail between November and December in 2010 after the federal government awarded him due remissions according to the law, he added.

The court was informed that upon release, Alvi left for Malaysia and had been arrested in Ecuador, Quitos, in relation to the above mentioned murder case for which he had served his sentence.

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He alleged that the petitioner on different occasions requested the respondents to provide him certified copies of the documents including his trial abroad, term served in the UK jail, his extradition and the period he served in the Pakistani jail, but they had failed to provide them.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2015.