ISLAMABAD  -  The United Kingdom (UK) has linked the extradition of Mohsin Ali Syed, one of the suspects in the Imran Farooq murder case and presently in Pakistan custody, with the assurance from Pakistani authorities that the evidence to be supplied with the extradition request will not be used for the purpose of any prosecution or investigation, The Nation has learnt reliably.

Highly reliable sources in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told The Nation that Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has already assured the UK authorities that the material evidence supplied for the extradition of Mohsin Syed will not be used for the purpose of any domestic prosecution or investigation. The UK authorities have, however, expressed the desire that, besides the verbal agreement from the interior minister, such an assurance should also come in writing from a senior official in the interior ministry, the sources said.

The extradition of Mohsin Syed is on the agenda of the upcoming UK-Pakistan talks on cooperation between the two countries on security and home affairs scheduled to be held in Islamabad this week.

The ‘Operation Demerit’ launched by the UK authorities for investigating MQM founder Altaf Hussain for possible offences in relation to the Public Order Act (1986), The Terrorism Act (2000 and 2006) and the Serious Crimes Act (2007) is also on the agenda of the talks, the sources said.

A document shared by the British High Commission in Islamabad with the Pakistani authorities on the Pakistan-UK cooperation says that the British government was committed to bringing the murderers of Imran Farooq to justice. “The police and Crown Prosecution Service have forensic evidence against one of the suspects in Pakistani custody, Mohsin Ali Syed. They would like to extradite him to the UK to face trial. “Before handing over the formal extradition request, we require an agreement that evidence contained in the extradition request will not be used in any trial in Pakistan of Syed or anyone else linked to the murder. This is a normal practice for evidence set out in extradition requests. Alongside verbal agreement from the interior minister, we would request this assurance to come in writing from a senior official in the interior ministry,” the document further explained to the Pakistani authorities. The assurance is binding on all future administrations, the UK government held.

According to reports, early this year, Britain’s Home Office had blocked the extradition request of Mohsin Syed, stating that it was doing so on the advice of Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) over “technical reasons”. Six years on and the British government is yet to request extradition of Mohsin Syed - the main suspect in the murder case of the exiled MQM leader. The British Home Office is responsible for routing extradition requests to foreign countries seeking legal assistance.

Scotland Yard had named former All Pakistan Mohajir Students Organisation activists Mohsin Syed and Kashif Khan Kamran as the suspects, who assassinated Dr Farooq outside his north London home in September 2010. The Scotland Yard, according to the reports, had recommended extradition of Mohsin Syed on more than one occasion but the Home Office effectively blocked the extradition request till now. Mohsin Syed was arrested in Pakistan in June 2015 but Islamabad was yet to receive a formal request for him to be handed over to the UK authorities. His alleged accomplice Muhammad Kashif Khan Kamran had died. Two other suspects Khalid Shamim and Muazzam Ali have also been arrested and are currently in Pakistani custody.

Ever since Dr Farooq’s murder in 2010, the MQM has insisted the case had nothing to do with the party. The British inquiry into Altaf Hussain’s August 22 speech is also going on. Cooperation between the two countries for providing evidence against Altaf Hussain to the UK authorities is also on the agenda of the upcoming talks.