Govt seeking extradition of Haqqani from US on embezzlement charges

Published January 5, 2019
Hussain Haqqani was at the centre of the Memogate scandal. — File photo
Hussain Haqqani was at the centre of the Memogate scandal. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: After failing to get former ambassador Hussain Haqqani through Interpol, the government has initiated the process of seeking his extradition from the United States through the Foreign Office on allegations of embezzlement.

“The Ministry of Interior has transferred a 355-page extradition dossier to the Foreign Office, which will be sent to the State Department for Mr Haqqani’s extradition,” a source told Dawn.

In this connection deliberations are being held within the Foreign Office over legal aspects of the case.

Interior ministry has transferred a 355-page dossier to Foreign Office to be sent to State Department for the purpose

The Supreme Court had, through a suo motu notice related to implementation of an earlier SC order of bringing Mr Haqqani back, directed the government to ensure his repatriation.

A nine-member SC bench, headed by the then chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had on June 4, 2013, directed the government to use all legal channels to bring him back.

Mr Haqqani, who was at the centre of a controversy over allegedly sending a memorandum to the then US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen seeking his direct intervention to avert a possible overthrow of the PPP government by the military, is currently based in the United States.

A commission constituted by the Supreme Court commonly known as the ‘Memogate Commission’ had in its report held Mr Haqqani as the originator and architect of the memo.

The government has on at least a couple of occasions in the past sought Interpol warrants for Mr Haqqani’s arrest, but could not convince the international criminal police to act. On one occasion the request for warrants was turned down because of the absence of a criminal charge, while the second time, when a treason charge had been made against the former envoy, the request was not entertained because treason did not constitute grounds for extradition under the international law, a source said.

Later, in March 2018, seven years after Mr Haqqani’s resignation over the memogate scandal, a case of embezzlement of $2 million was registered against him, which is now being made the basis for seeking his extradition.

But, legal experts say, the US Statute of Limitations require that a case must have been initiated within five years of the crime and hence Mr Haqqani’s case does not fulfil that condition.

The sources at the Foreign Office, who have been following the case, too didn’t appear very hopeful about the extradition request that they would be making. Besides the Statute of Limitations handicap, it is said Pakistan and the US do not have bilateral extradition treaty even though the latter has in the past considered the former’s extradition requests on merit. Admiral Mansurul Haq and Hamish Khan of the Bank of Punjab were extradited in the past.

The US, legal experts say, does not extradite in ‘political cases’ and Mr Haqqani’s case potentially falls within the political category. They believe that even if the State Department agrees, the process could entail lengthy court proceedings in the US before the extradition could actually take place.

They note that the shifting grounds for seeking Mr Haqqani’s extradition have damaged the case as well.

Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2019

Opinion

Editorial

Road to perdition
01 Feb, 2023

Road to perdition

A RECKONING is called for, a reckoning unlike that which this nation has ever seen. It must happen now — or, as...
Transport tragedies
01 Feb, 2023

Transport tragedies

TWO tragedies over the weekend illustrate the weak protocols governing the safety of transport in Pakistan. In fact,...
Disqualifying Jam Awais
01 Feb, 2023

Disqualifying Jam Awais

IT appears that there may be some kind of small punishment after all for PPP lawmaker Jam Awais, who was pardoned ...
Police Lines bombing
Updated 31 Jan, 2023

Police Lines bombing

Where the menace of terrorism is concerned, the government and opposition need to close ranks and put up a united front.
Oil price hike
31 Jan, 2023

Oil price hike

THE record single-day increase in petrol prices, preceded by massive currency depreciation, signifies the ...
Babar Azam’s award
31 Jan, 2023

Babar Azam’s award

BABAR Azam might not have lifted many trophies as Pakistan’s all-format captain in the last year but the star...