ISLAMABAD   -  The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday gave time to Deputy Attorney General for preparation of hearing in an Intra Court Appeal (ICA) against extradition of a Pakistani origin US national Talha Haroon allegedly involved in hatching conspiracy to carry out terrorism activity in New York in US.

A Division Bench of IHC comprising Acting Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb conducted hearing of the petition wherein the defence counsel had completed his arguments while a Deputy Attorney General resumed his arguments in this matter on Monday.

However, he could not satisfy the court on the observations made by the Bench on the previous hearing and gave him time to consult Attorney General in this matter.

After issuing aforementioned directions, the IHC bench deferred hearing in this connection with date in office.

During the previous hearing, Justice Maingul Hassan had observed that the offences with which the accused has been charged are not extradition offences because they are neither mentioned in the treaty nor in the schedule of the act.  He added that how a person can be surrendered to another country who has been charged for non-extraditable offences and directed the Deputy Attorney General to satisfy the court on this point.

In the petition, petitioner’s counsel stated that the appellant, being aggrieved of the finding of inquiry 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 inquiry officer to conclude the inquiry 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.   “It is very pertinent to mention here the instant appeal is to the extent of discharging and releasing the accused, particularly, when the learned single judge after hearing the case at length arrived at the conclusion that the case was of no evidence and whatever appended with the criminal complaint was not admissible.

Then it is categorically clear that a prima facie case was not made out in support of the requisition for surrendering of the appellant No. 2 (Talha Haroon) as was requested by the US authorities and eventually the learned single judge should have discharged and released the appellant as warranted by the law on the subject matter, said the ICA.

Petitioner’s counsel Idrees Ashraf Advocate adopted in the ICA that the learned single judge has failed in appreciating the point, regarding admissibility of evidence, raised before him.  It was contended that extradition request being faulty could not be granted because the evidence attached with the criminal complaint was entirely inadmissible either being hearsay or in the form of affidavits which were inadmissible unless the deponents were produced for cross examination. 

The learned single judge through the impugned judgment has examined the latter part of the contention relating to affidavits but totally ignored the first part of the contention which was about hearsay.

He added that it is very respectfully submitted that as per criminal complaint the appellant is a high-level target and active member of ISIS but it is very surprising that the requesting State has not placed any evidence relating to the connections of the appellant with the IS. 

The counsel continued that it is also submitted that the whole case revolves around encrypted electronic communications but no Internet Protocol (IP) address of appellant’s laptop has been mentioned in the complaint to identify that the instrument through which the communications were made belongs to the appellant.

He contended that the learned single judge has failed in considering, deliberating and giving finding on the fact that Talha Haroon was not arrested in accordance with the provisions contained in Section 5 and Section 8 of the Extradition Act, 1972.  The respondents made a false statement through reply by stating that Talha Haroon was arrested in pursuant to the Warrants of Arrest issued by the Enquiry Magistrate on 18.11.2016.

The fact of the matter is that the Appellant No. 2 was picked up by the security agencies in Quetta.  He remained missing for almost three months and faced brutal torture.

The respondents took this matter very casually and did not shy to file reply containing incorrect date of the arrest of the Appellant. 

This is also surprising that the Constitutional courts which guard the life and liberty of persons or citizens has ignored this point.

Therefore, he prayed to the court that the impugned judgment to the extent of fresh decision of enquiry magistrate may kindly be suspended.

He further requested to release Talha Haroon from custody pending adjudication of the instant appeal.