ISLAMABAD, March 13: On Thursday, a three-man team from the capital police will leave for Afghanistan, hoping to arrest the man accused of killing a former Advocate General of the Peshawar High Court.

Their target, Rooh Ullah, escaped from custody last July while in District Headquarters Hospital, and is reported to have been hiding in the home of an Afghan senator.

A police official, requesting anonymity, said that three officers - Tahir Alam Khan, AIG of Police Operations; Sajid Kiani, Superintendent of Police at Saddar; and Raja Rahat, an inspector - will meet with Interpol representatives after arrival in Kabul.

The customary procedure, when a criminal flees to a foreign country, is to return that person to the country of his or her crime.

In this case, however, a joint team of Islamabad police, Interpol and the Afghan immigration department will cooperate in the arrest.

The officer reported that Afghanistan's ambassador in Islamabad had promised IG Police Bani Amin Khan his cooperation.

If the IGP could track down his location, the ambassador is reported to have said that he would help coordinate actions from the Afghan side.

Earlier efforts by Afghan police to apprehend Rooh Ullah were unsuccessful, however.

According to the police officer, “an Afghan senator is protecting him”.

One of Rooh Ullah’s four wives is from a powerful Afghan family, and once he escaped from custody in Rawalpindi, the accused used those connections to get the protection of the Afghan senator.

His location has been traced to a home owned by the senator, in a rural area near Jalalabad.

Rooh Ullah’s time in police custody in Pakistan and his escape on July 28, 2011 were also controversial. Although he was arrested in 2011 for the murder of a former advocate general, he had yet to be indicted, and not a single hearing had taken place.

According to an inquiry after his escape, while in Adiala Jail he received “VIP treatment”, with two mobile phones, access to meals and clothes from his home, and no ban on visitors.

An investigation also found seven cheques from different bank accounts in his pillow, five of them blank but bearing his signature, and the other two drawn for Rs500,000 and Rs25,000. Police investigators, under the supervision of AIG Tahir Alam Khan, believed he used cheques as bribes, to secure help in his escape.

On July 16, 2011 Rooh Ullah was taken to DHQ Hospital where he received an endoscopy and a Polymeras Chain Reaction test, and was prescribed medications, including Interferon, a hepatitis treatment.

Police say that he could have been given those treatments while in prison, but doctors and the hospital’s Medical Superintendent ignored a July 18, 2011 letter requesting his transfer back to Adiala Jail.

In addition, the AIG’s investigation claimed that while his transfer to the hospital was unnecessary, he should have been sent to an institution in Islamabad rather than Rawalpindi, and Adiala administration should have obtained permission from the Chief Commissioner Islamabad rather than the Punjab Home Department. “Adiala administration violated prison rules,” the investigators found.

While his lawyer maintains that he should be tried under the Pakistan Penal Code at the District and Sessions Court in Islamabad, the IHC is currently hearing a case that would send his trial to the Anti-Terrorism Court instead.

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