Former President Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf. – File Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: The government sent to the British authorities on Wednesday the arrest warrant of former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

According to sources in the interior ministry, the warrant was sent by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to Pakistan’s High Commission in London which forwarded it to the UK foreign affairs department.

“We have received the arrest warrant and sent it to the UK authorities,” an assistant to High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hassan told Dawn.

The former president, accused of not providing adequate security to the PPP leader, is said to be in Dubai these days.

It may be mentioned that Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who was in London on Wednesday, said last month that extradition of Gen (retd) Musharraf from the UK was not being pursued.

A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) headed by FIA officials had earlier served an arrest warrant at Gen Musharraf’s farmhouse in Chak Shahzad on the orders of the Anti-Terrorism Court-III in Rawalpindi.

Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a gun and bomb attack outside Liaquat Bagh on Dec 27, 2007.

A source in Interpol said there were two separate processes to bring accused back to the country from abroad — extradition through legal process and directly through an administrative process of Interpol.He said extradition from the UK was a complex issue because Pakistan and the UK did not have an extradition treaty.

“But even then Pakistan handed over many wanted people to the UK during the Musharraf regime,” the source said.

In the absence of a treaty, Interpol will have to issue a ‘red notice’ against the former president. “But Interpol always acts on a case-to-case basis and sometimes it only locates an accused and provides information to the relevant government,” the source said.

About the legal course of extradition, the source said that after issuing an arrest warrant against a person the country would have to send a formal letter to the legal authority or courts of the country where the accused lived, requesting his extradition. This letter of the court is sent through the ministries of interior and law and justice to the Foreign Office that forwards it to the government or the court concerned.

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