ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan Thursday directed the federation to satisfy the court that how people were extradited to countries with whom Pakistan has treaty as well as with non-treaty States.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Mushir Alam also issued a notice to the Attorney General for Pakistan in this matter. The bench also directed Director Foreign Office America Desk and the Secretary Ministry of Interior to assist the court on the next date of hearing. 

In this regard, the bench heard the federation’s appeal against the Islamabad High Court verdict relating to extradition of Pakistani origin US national Talha Haroon to USA. A division bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hussan Aurangzeb on 18th August 2020 had turned down an Intra Court Appeal (ICA) to extradite Talha Haroon allegedly involved in hatching a conspiracy to carry out a terrorism activity in New York, to USA.

At the outset, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed inquired that whether the USA and UK also reciprocate in the same manner that Pakistan extradites their citizens. Additional Attorney General for Pakistan Sajid Illyas Bhatti informed that that in 2008 America had extradited Farid Twakal and Farooq Twakal to Pakistan.

Tariq Mehmood advocate, representing Haroon ur Rashid, the father of Talha Haroon, submitted that the extradition treaty was signed between the government of United Kingdom and government of USA before the partition of subcontinent. However, Pakistan adopted it in 1972.

Fawad Sheikh, Director America Desk in Foreign Office, informed that in 1931 a treaty was signed between United Kingdom and United State of America, which was applicable in 1942. Pakistan was Dominion State as per the Indian Act, 1935. After the Constitution of 1973 the Extradition Treaty Act, 1972 was promulgated.

The court noted that Pakistan has no extradition treaty with USA, but the people have been extradited under the Act. America is mentioned one of the partners of the treaty State under Section 3 of the Act, 1972. The bench said that under Section 2 of the Act, a person could be extradited in terms of the offence listed in the schedule of the Act.

Justice Muneeb Akhtar said that the offence was committed in USA and at that time the accused (Talha Haroon) was 18-year-old. He said that the offence committed should be on the schedule. The offence in the complaint is terrorism, while terrorism is not in the schedule of the Act.

The IHC had remanded the matter to the Enquiry Magistrate so as to offer an opportunity to the prosecution to produce the affidavit/deposition of the UC [Undercover law enforcement officer] (without disclosing his identity), made in accordance with Section 9(2) of the 1972 Act. The Court had directed the Enquiry Magistrate to give a finding on the question whether conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism (i.e. the offence which appellant No.2 is alleged to have committed) is an extradition offence so as to attract the provisions of the 1972 Act.

In the ICA of Talha’s father, Haroon ur Rashid stated, being aggrieved of the finding of enquiry officer and order of the Ministry of Interior, filed a petition before the IHC which vide a judgment dated 03.05.2019, disposed of the same with a direction to enquiry officer to conclude the enquiry within a period of 60 days, afresh. Hence, he has filed this intra court appeal against the aforementioned judgment.

He added that the petition filed by the appellants was disposed of by the learned single judge without any direction or order for discharging and releasing the appellant’s son.

The federation had also impugned the IHC single judge judgment dated 03.05.2019 only to the extent of the Judge-in-Chambers holding that the witnesses who submitted their affidavits in support of the extradition request have to be cross-examined and that the investigation officer of the country making the extradition request has to appear before the Enquiry Magistrate and record his evidence.