News Desk |
After failing to get former ambassador Hussain Haqqani through Interpol, the government has initiated the process of seeking his extradition from the United States through the Foreign Office on allegations of embezzlement.
“The Ministry of Interior has transferred a 355-page extradition dossier to the Foreign Office, which will be sent to the State Department for Mr. Haqqani’s extradition,” a local publication quoted a source. In this connection, deliberations are being held within the Foreign Office over legal aspects of the case.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar remarked that the absconding former Ambassador had submitted an affidavit in the court regarding his return. However, he didn’t come to attend the hearing despite assurance, he added.
The Supreme Court had, through a Suo Motu notice related to the implementation of an earlier SC order of bringing Mr. Haqqani back, directed the government to ensure his repatriation. A nine-member SC bench, headed by the then chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had on June 4, 2013, directed the government to use all legal channels to bring him back.
Mr. Haqqani, who was at the center of a controversy over allegedly sending a memorandum to the then US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen seeking his direct intervention to avert a possible overthrow of the PPP government by the military, is currently based in the United States. A commission constituted by the Supreme Court commonly known as the ‘Memogate Commission’ had in its report held Mr. Haqqani as the originator and architect of the memo.
The government has on at least a couple of occasions in the past sought Interpol warrants for Mr. Haqqani’s arrest, but could not convince the international criminal police to act. On one occasion the request for warrants was turned down because of the absence of a criminal charge, while the second time, when a treason charge had been made against the former envoy, the request was not entertained because treason did not constitute grounds for extradition under the international law, a local publication said, citing a source.
Supreme Court (SC) in August 2018 had directed National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to take steps for bringing back Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani, GVS earlier reported. During the hearing of Memogate scandal, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan said he had been told that Haqqani could not be brought back to the country under the law of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
According to ‘amicus curiae’ (friend of the court) and former interim law minister Ahmer Bilal Soofi, NAB has agreements with the UN Security Council to extradite citizens like Haqqani that are evading trial.
The FIA had previously been tasked to bring back Haqqani for trial. Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar remarked that the absconding former Ambassador had submitted an affidavit in the court regarding his return. However, he didn’t come to attend the hearing despite assurance, he added.
The apex court ordered the parliament to legislate on extradition agreements with foreign countries while giving NAB the task to bring back the former ambassador, the bench also ordered it to submit a written reply about steps it would take to bring Haqqani to Pakistan.
Haqqani had left Pakistan on January 3, 2013, after assuring the court that he would return on a four-day notice. He, however, did not return and on June 4, 2013, the court had directed the government to bring him back. According to ‘amicus curiae’ (friend of the court) and former interim law minister Ahmer Bilal Soofi, NAB has agreements with the UN Security Council to extradite citizens like Haqqani that are evading trial.
The Memogate controversy (also Mullen memo controversy) revolves around a memorandum (addressed to Admiral Mike Mullen) allegedly drafted by Haqqani at the behest of former president Asif Ali Zardari, ostensibly seeking help of the Obama administration in the wake of the Osama bin Laden raid to avert a military takeover of the civilian government in Pakistan. The Osama Bin Laden ‘raid’ in 2011 had strained Civil-military and Pak-US relations.