ISLAMABAD - Legal experts have opined that former president Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf and former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, being principal accused in the Akbar Bugti murder case, could be extradited through Interpol.
They said although Pakistan had no extradition treaty with the UK, the US and Dubai, where both the absconders keep moving, the two can be brought back through Interpol. They said the UK could be termed their permanent abode, as they spend most of the time there.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Ahmer Bilal Sufi, an expert on international law, said in compliance with the Balochistan High Court orders, both the accused could be brought back through Interpol. He said although no extradition treaty had been signed by Pakistan and the UK, there were some instances under which both of them could be extradited. However, at the same time he said Interpol could not be substituted for an extradition treaty.
Former Supreme Court Bar Association president Asma Jahangir said the federal government could secure extradition of both men, if it showed seriousness in doing so. To a query, she said the court merely issued directives and did its job, but now it was the responsibility of the executive to implement these directives.
According to senior lawyer Akram Sheikh, the Balochistan High Court had directed the federal government to seek Musharraf and Aziz’s extradition in Bugti murder case, thus it was mandatory for the government to implement the court’s order by taking affirmative steps, irrespective of indulging in technicalities. To a query, he said Interpol helped everyone, however it depended on a government’s seriousness and fairness.
According to senior lawyer Muhammad Ikram Chaudhry, Pakistan could seek the cooperation of the Commonwealth in extraditing Musharraf and Aziz. He said on Pakistan’s request, the Commonwealth could put pressure on Britain’s Home Department to start criminal proceedings in British courts against Musharraf.
To a query, he said an additional complication was Britain’s obligations to humanitarian laws of the European Union, which abolished the death penalty within the grouping and prohibited extradition of suspects to countries where they were likely to face execution. However at the same time, he said Britain was bound by its obligations to the Commonwealth to coordinate with courts in other Commonwealth countries.
When contacted, former law minister Dr Khalid Ranjha said Britain’s Home Department would have to obey the capital punishment laws of European countries. He said they might fear that the Pakistani court would award a death sentence to Musharraf, and therefore deny the request.
At the same time, contrary to the opinion of the majority of legal experts, Ranjha said the court should not pass any order which was not executable. The extradition treaty between Pakistan and the UK still hung in the air, as the clause of capital punishment remained the main hurdle in signing the treaty.