SC restrains extradition of terror suspect to US

Updated 22 Sep 2020

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The two-judge bench asked Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan to assist the court in the matter. — SC website/File
The two-judge bench asked Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan to assist the court in the matter. — SC website/File

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday sought details about exchange of accused people under the extradition treaties signed with different countries, including the United States.

A two-judge SC bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam issued the directives while hearing a case of Talha Haroon, an American of Pakistan origin accused of planning a number of terrorist attacks in New York in 2016.

The Supreme Court also restrained extradition of the accused to the US till a final decision on the case and asked Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan to assist the court in the matter. The court also asked the Foreign Office to depute the relevant officers along with complete record highlighting the number of people extradited to different countries.

Justice Qazi Amin Ahmed, another member of the SC bench, wondered on the basis of what evidence the accused should be extradited to the US, saying Pakistan was a sovereign state. However, he added, the US could take away whoever it wanted without any agreement.

According to the investigation carried out by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Talha Haroon was in Pakistan in April 2016 and planned multiple terrorist attacks in New York City. The FBI claimed that with the support of the militant Islamic State group, he wanted to carry out Paris-style attacks in New York in June 2016.

The FBI said the suspects “identified multiple potential targets of their plot to launch terrorist attacks in New York City”. One of the targets was the New York City subway, besides Times Square and a concert hall, it added.

In August, the Islamabad High Court had paved the way for extradition of a Pakistani-American terror suspect by relaxing tough conditions set for his handing over to the US authorities.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2020