IHC wants removal of anomalies in extradition law

Updated 02 Oct 2019

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The Islamabad High Court has desired removal of anomalies in the extradition law as it has clubbed some extradition-related petitions, constituted a special bench and sought assistance from the attorney general and the amicus curiae. — AFP/File
The Islamabad High Court has desired removal of anomalies in the extradition law as it has clubbed some extradition-related petitions, constituted a special bench and sought assistance from the attorney general and the amicus curiae. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court has desired removal of anomalies in the extradition law as it has clubbed some extradition-related petitions, constituted a special bench and sought assistance from the attorney general and the amicus curiae.

“We want to settle the issue once and for all,” IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked on Tuesday during the hearing of a case about extradition of a murder suspect to the United Kingdom.

An IHC division bench comprising Chief Justice Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb heard the case.

Justice Aurangzeb remarked that in almost every extradition-related case, the court observed various loopholes which were left to be plugged by the court.

For how long the court would plug loopholes left in the investigation and inquiry by the officials concerned, he regretted.

In an earlier judgement, a single-member bench of the IHC had made it mandatory for the investigation officer to testify before the court in extradition-related cases.

Court constitutes special bench and seeks assistance from attorney general

Deputy Attorney General Khawaja Imtiaz argued before the court that under the extradition law, the appearance of the investigation officer was not mandatory. According to him, the investigation officer of the state requesting the extradition of a suspect is required to submit a copy of the investigation report along with an affidavit duly certified by the relevant authorities.

The bench, however, reminded Mr Imtiaz that the high court could not go beyond the extradition law, but this was a matter where “people’s liberty is involved”.

Subsequently, the court issued a notice to the attorney general and adjourned the hearing till Oct 17.

The case is about suspect Abdul Qadir Ahsan, 19, who has been facing murder charges since July 2015.

Ahsan is accused of killing gangster Andre Marshall, 29, who was found with fatal gunshot wounds at Manor Park, Urmston, Trafford, in May, 2015.

A UK’s Crown Court had in 2016 sentenced two men — Danial Shahid and Kadell Rivers — in the murder case.

Shahid, 19, of Stretford, was detained at a young offenders’ institute for four years and Rivers, 21, also of Stretford, was jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Shahid, of Carlton Street, denied assisting an offender but was found guilty after a trial in the Manchester Crown Court.

Rivers, of Skelton Road, admitted the same charge as well as two weapons charges.

Marshall was jailed in 2008 for assault and possession of a firearm following an attack on a gym in 2007.

He was a member of the Gooch Gang from Manchester’s Moss Side, which was involved in clashes with rival gangs in the 1990s.

Ahsan has also filed a petition in the IHC, seeking his bail. He pleaded before the court that he was not involved in the murder but was implicated in the case as his blood stains were found in Marshall’s car during the forensic test. Ahsan was of the view that he was repairing the door-light of Marshall’s car when his hand got injured and some blood stains dropped in the car which were revealed during the forensic examination of the vehicle.

The petition said that Ahsan was summoned by the local police on July 23 and was released on bail. He, however, flew to Pakistan because he was being harassed in the UK.

In June 2017, the UK government has formally requested the Pakistani authorities for Ahsan’s extradition.

Ahsan has been taken into custody and kept in Adiala jail since July 2018.

Meanwhile, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani of the IHC, while hearing a petition, issued show-cause notices to the secretaries of foreign affairs and interior and Pakistani high commissioner in the United Kingdom for not implementing the court orders relating to the transfer of a British court’s convict to Pakistan to complete the 21-year jail term.

The court was hearing the petition filed on behalf of Pakistani citizen Mohammad Tariq Aziz.

The IHC had in 2017 disposed of Tariq Aziz’s petition after the interior ministry had given an undertaking to the court to proceed with the case in accordance with the law.

Tariq Aziz was convicted by a British court in 2012 in a murder case and was sentenced to 21 years in prison. He filed an application with the UK authorities to transfer him to a Pakistani jail where he would serve the sentence. The British authorities approved his request and referred his case to Pakistan High Commission the same year. Since there was no progress in this matter, the convict had approached the IHC.

Published in Dawn, October 2nd , 2019