“We don’t want to use extradition for political victimisation; we feel that extradition treaty is important. Only capital punishment is impediment which will be removed by cabinet”, says Shah Mahmood Qureshi
Pak FM discusses various issues of mutual
concern with Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt,
Rory Stewart and Sir Vince Cable
Nation special report
LONDON: In a latest development in much talked extradition process between Britain and Pakistan, now the situation is clear and crystal as Britain has categorically told Pakistan that it would not sign any extradition treaty that could be used for politically-motivated cases.
Addressing a joint press conference with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi here at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt confirmed the two had discussed the issue of an extradition treaty between UK and Pakistan.
“Let me say it straightforward. UK will never sign any treaty allowing for politically motivated extradition,” said the British minister to which Qureshi added that Pakistan did not intend to use the treaty against political rivals. “We don’t want to use extradition for political victimisation; we feel that extradition
is important,” he said.
Qureshi said that he had discussed with the British foreign secretary the impediment in signing this treaty, which was capital punishment. “We have resolved that by making amendments in Pakistan’s Penal Code. We have taken the decision of making amendment in that.
“This will not be misused but there’s an environment which needs to be discussed and concluded. Both sides pledged to move forward with an early conclusion of the extradition treaty and readmission agreement,” he added.
Qureshi, in response to Hunt’s statement to the media, said: “Pakistan does not want to use extradition for political victimisation, that’s not the idea. We feel that extradition is important. And we have also discussed in my meeting with the [British] home secretary that the impediment […] was the issue of capital punishment and we have resolved that by taking a decision that we are going to make amendments in the Pakistan penal code to address this issue,” said Qureshi.
“So this will not be misused, but it is a requirement which needs to be discussed. And you know, concluded,” he added.
The statements by the two dignitaries come in the backdrop of reports that an agreement has been reached between Pakistani and British authorities for the extradition of former finance minister Ishaq Dar to Pakistan.
It is pertinent to mention here that Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar on Tuesday claimed that British authorities have agreed to extradite Dar under a memorandum of understanding.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Akbar had said that an agreement in this regard has been reached, but extradition documents for Dar have yet to be signed.
He had said that following the ratification of the document, Dar will be repatriated to Pakistan after being produced before a magistrate.
Ishaq Dar’s move
Media reports that Ishaq Dar had approached the UK Home Office began to surface earlier on Wednesday. Ishaq Dar decided “to take up with the UK Home Office the matter of the ongoing ‘media trial’ against him by Pakistani authorities in relation to the purported MOU signed for his extradition”, Ali Dar, Ishaq Dar’s son, said in a prepared statement shared with Dawn.com.
According to a media report, Former finance minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ishaq Dar has reportedly once again approached the British Home Office in London to apply for political asylum.
This is the second time that Dar has approached the Home Office in London to present his case. He was interviewed against his profile by the relevant authorities for the second time.
According to the report, Dar remained in the Home Office for over 4 hours.
Before this, Ishaq Dar had applied for political asylum in the United Kingdom in October 2018. Pakistan has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with British authorities to extradite Ishaq Dar.
Separately, Qureshi appreciated the UK government’s approach on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). “We had a constructive discussion on the FATF. [The UK government] have stated very clearly that they would not like Pakistan to be pushed in the blacklist.
“In fact, they would want to help us — and we help ourselves — by getting us out of the greylist and we have a clear approach on how to cooperate on that front. The UK delegation has been very supportive in Orlando,” the FM said.
The British foreign secretary also commented on the bilateral ties between the UK and Pakistan, saying the personal connection the two countries have was truly extraordinary. “We had [a] very good discussion about the bilateral trade, cooperation in multilateral arenas, regional tensions, and working together to reduce them.
“The secretary of state for the international trade has increased the support for Pakistan from up to £400 million to £1 billion,” he said, adding he was delighted that British Airways recently restarted their services from London to Islamabad.
Hunt noted that Pakistan and the UK have been great friends for many years and “today is the reaffirmation of that friendship”. He had met Qureshi on many occasions, he added, underscoring that he enjoyed “excellent working relationship with him”.
Qureshi reiterated that both sides had a great discussion on regional issues and how the “PTI [Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf] government played a role in defusing a tense situation after Pulwama attack and how this government has played its role in tackling issues of money-laundering, terror-financing, FATF and where Pakistan stands on all these issues”.
Hunt said he was “very encouraged to see strong commitment of tackling corruption by the Pakistan government, the progress made on FATF, [and] additional progress that can also be made in that area”.
The foreign secretary said there was a “very clear recognition from the Pakistani government that the only way for Pakistan to progress is to do more to tackle this scourge of corruption and I think a lot of progress has been made”.
Qureshi said the PTI had a clear view of tackling corruption, that he understood how important it was, and that it was the PTI’s view that stolen assets should be recovered. He added that his government wished to eliminate corruption through across-the-board accountability.
“Stolen assets should be recovered. We have an assets recovery unit [ARU] functioning in Pakistan. The government is doing whatever it can to deal with the menace of corruption,” he explained.
Qureshi meets sajid Javid
Pakistan and the UK have decided in principal to take stern measures to end money laundering and organised crime which are a headache and a great challenge for both countries.
Pakistan’s visiting Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi met with the UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid at his office in the House of Commons in London today (Monday). Mr. Qureshi and Mr. Javid discussed matters of bilateral interest and reviewed the ongoing security cooperation under the institutional framework of Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ESD). High Commissioner Mohammad Nafees Zakaria accompanied the Foreign Minister.
Pakistan and the UK reaffirmed their continuing collaboration between the law enforcement agencies of the two countries at the operational level and counter terrorism measures in accordance with the National Action Plan. Mr. Qureshi thanked the UK Home Secretary for the technical assistance and support that is being provided by the UK government.
They agreed to continue their governments’ joint efforts for developing the capacity building of public departments and information sharing as part of their commitment to achieve greater success in the global fight against terrorism, organised crime and illegal migration.
Both sides reiterated their resolve to curb money laundering practices and to build upon the Justice and accountability partnership arrangement between the two countries. Mr. Javid expressed the UK government’s desire to be seen as a partner of Pakistan in their joint efforts in anti money laundering and to tackle organized crime.
Both Ministers underscored the importance of working together for the repatriation of stolen financial assets abroad and to intensify domestic efforts for return of this wealth in accordance with international legal instruments and conventions against corruption.
Qureshi meets Rory Stewart
Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi also held a meeting with the DFID Secretary Rory Stewart at the DFID Headquarters in London on Wednesday. The two Ministers reviewed UK’s development assistance to Pakistan in health, education and capacity building in other areas of priority under the institutional framework of Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ESD).
Pakistan and the UK committed to closely cooperate towards ongoing DFID projects. They also agreed to monitor closely and cooperate on matters relating to institutional capacity building of the various government institutions towards effective public service delivery and skills development.
Qureshi and the Secretary International Development undertook to further explore and identify new areas that could help in poverty alleviation and uplifting of low-income groups. To that end, tourism was noted as one area with economic benefits for the common people.