ISLAMABAD   -   United Kingdom has agreed to sign extradition treaty with Pakistan only on the condition that the latter would withdraw death sentence in those cases in which it would have to extradite the accused, a senior government official Wednesday said.

The senior government functionary told The Nation that Pakistan has agreed to accept that condition of UK and an extradition treaty between both the countries would be finalised within the next two or three months.

According to the official, UK had shown reluctance to sign the treaty with Pakistan on the grounds that the latter has not abolished death sentence and cited it a matter of human rights.

On this, Pakistan agreed to abolish death sentence only in those cases in which accused would have to be brought back to Pakistan and for this purpose, necessary changes in the relevant laws are being introduced soon, he said.

“The cabinet has already approved amendments in the laws in this connection,” the official said, adding the government would soon introduce amendments in the parliament before singing an extradition treaty with UK.

Many Pakistani politicians, including Muttahida Qaumi Movement founder Altaf Hussain, former finance minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ishaq Dar, and two sons of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif are residing in UK while they are facing difference cases in Pakistan. Pakistani authorities have failed to bring them back in the country despite many attempts because of absence of an extradition treaty with UK.

A senior official of the Ministry of Interior said that UK had earlier refused to share concrete and material evidence with Pakistan in murder case of MQM leader Dr Imran Farooq on the same grounds.

Dr Imran Farooq, a former parliamentarian and one of the founding members of MQM, was murdered in London outside his residence under mysterious circumstances on September 16, 2010.

“The British authorities in the past remained reluctant to share the evidence against the accused who are under custody of Pakistan because they are facing murder charges whose punishment in Pakistan is death sentence,” the interior ministry official said. He further added that UK for a second option wanted that one of the two main accused should be extradited to UK to which Pakistan disagreed. “Pakistan wanted that both main accused under its detention should be extradited to UK,” he added.

On Tuesday, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) informed an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad that UK has agreed to share evidence with it in Dr Imran Farooq murder case.

FIA’s special prosecutor Khawaja Imtiaz told the court that the UK Central Authority had emailed to the attorney general office in Pakistan expressing readiness to provide evidence.

Last year, the Islamabad High Court had directed the trial court to conclude the trial by October 2018.

However, FIA more than once had been seeking time from the court saying it wanted to produce evidence against the accused facing trial which is expected to be provided by the UK under a request of mutual legal assistance.

In December 2015, Counter-Terrorism Wing (CTW) of FIA had registered a case against Altaf Hussain, two other leaders of MQM including Muhammad Anwar and Iftikhar Hussain, and four others who also remained associated with the Karachi based political party. They were Moazzam Ali Khan, Khalid Shamim, Kashif Khan Kamran and Syed Mohsin Ali. All were booked on charges of abetment in murder and killing of Dr Farooq.