Extraordinary extraditions

0
542

Islamabad: (Waqar Gillani) Nearly two-dozen cases of extradition of fugitive offenders sought by different countries are facing extraordinary delay in the designated inquiry court of Islamabad Capital Territory causing concern to authorities amid fears of diplomatic embarrassment.

Pakistan’s Extradition Act of 1972 provides 60 days to the inquiry to examine the diplomatic documents related to the extradition before deciding the matter or handing over the person to the relevant country.

However, in the designated inquiry court under the Additional Deputy Commissioner General (ADCG) over three-dozen cases are facing unnecessary adjournments. Some of the cases are pending for the past six to eight years, the documents highlighted.

The ministry of interior recently expressed its concern to the chief commissioner office of the capital territory over unnecessary delays in extradition cases to avoid Pakistan from “an embarrassing situation to implement the treaties/ Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) in the letter and spirit on the diplomatic fronts.”

According to the available documents, among the unnecessary delayed over 30 extradition cases at least 15 are related to United Arab Emirate (UAE); five each from the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia; four from United States of America; three from Qatar and one each from Kuwait, Turkey, Italy, Germany and Norway. Six of these care relate to terrorism, nine are of murder, and rest other crime including robbery, theft, fraud, embezzlement, fatal accident, and marital rape.

Some of the cases have been pending for the past 9 years – like one related to UAE is pending since 2014; three cases related to USA and UAE are pending since 2016.

The Islamabad chief commissioner recently got a direction from the ministry authority to ensure that the Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) office/Inquiry Court to decide the extradition cases as per law within the sixty days instead of treating these cases like a trial court through the counsels of extradited fugitive offenders.

The ADCG of the capital city Islamabad is appointed as Inquiry Officer in the extradition cases as per the Extradition Act, 1972 for a transparent and fair disposal of the extradition cases. Pakistan, through international extradition treaties and MoUs is bound to return required fugitive offenders to the relevant states. In the countries where Pakistan has not entered a treaty federal cabinet through the Ministry of Interior after analyzing documents gives special approval and issues a gazette notification for the extradition of the required person/offender.

Section seven of the Extradition Act of 1972 – Pakistan’s law for the extradition of fugitive offenders to the relevant countries – reads “where a requisition is made under section 6, the Federal Government may, if it thinks fit, issue an order to enquire into the case to any Magistrate of the first class who would have had jurisdiction to enquire into the extradition offence to which the requisition relates if it had been an offence committed within the local limits of his jurisdiction.” The law also states that the matter would be decided within 60 days of the period.

The letter directed the ICT commissioner to quickly refer the matter to the concerned inquiry officer that his office is not a proper court and not supposed to call the relevant officials of different departments of the Ministry of Interior as witness. “As per Extradition Act, 1972 presence of section Officer (Federal Investigation Agency) is not mandatory before the inquiry Officer except filing of his statement about confirmation of the official documents received through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the person to be extradited. The letter reminds ICT that the ADGC is just an inquiry court and not a trial court.

The ministry observed that the Inquiry Officer (ADCG) used to issue notice to the former section Officer of Ministry of Interior, Islamabad by whom the extradition cases were referred to him. In this regard, the officer who is posted out from the Ministry of Interior may not be summoned to render his appearance personally in the old cases which could not be finalized by the Inquiry Officer. The notice in those cases should be issued to the Section Officer (FIA) by designation instead of calling him by name, the interior ministry directed.

“It is required that an ADCG/Inquiry Officer may be directed to proceed in extradition cases as an inquiry forum and to complete the inquiry within the stipulated time period of 60 days under Extradition Act,1972,” the interior ministry stated. “The Inquiry Officer may also be directed that the inquiry proceeding may not be converted into a trial court on analogy of Session Court which could be resulted in the delay of inquiries referred to him due to which Pakistan may have face embarrassment situation to implement the treaties/ Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) in the letter and spirit on the diplomatic fronts.

The trend, of delaying the extradition cases, has been seen for the past few years, according to an official of the ICT. During the inquiry court proceedings, the officials of the relevant embassies and foreign missions also come and observe the hearings/proceedings.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here