Piran Ditta Khan wants trial in Pakistan, extradition decision to take two months

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ISLAMABAD: A man, 71-year old Piran Ditta Khan wanted in connection with the murder of a police officer shot dead during a robbery has appeared in court here on Wednesday. Piran Ditta Khan was arrested in Islamabad on 14 January.

West Yorkshire PC Sharon Beshenivsky was killed while answering an emergency call outside a travel agency in Bradford in 2005. Khan who is facing extradition to the UK, has been remanded in custody.

His lawyer, Raja Ghaneem Aabir Khan, told the BBC that his client was “not guilty”, they would be contesting the extradition and Mr Khan should be tried in Pakistan. Officials in Pakistan said Mr Khan had had been living in a rented home, alongside his wife, in the outskirts of Islamabad for the last year. Extradition proceedings are expected to last a number of months. The next hearing is due within 10 days, he added.

PC Beshenivsky, 38, had only been an officer for nine months when she was shot in the chest on what was her youngest daughter Lydia’s fourth birthday. She was a mother of three and stepmother of two children. Three men were jailed for life for her murder and two for manslaughter. Her shift partner, PC Teresa Milburn, was also shot but survived.

According to media reports,Khan told reporters as he was marched to the courthouse in chains, ‘The situation is that I can’t really apologise because I haven’t done anything wrong.’ 

Raja Ghaneem Aabar, said the court is expected to review Pakistani investigations into the case before considering a final decision on Britain’s extradition request. The next hearing is due within 10 days, he added.

Khan refused to answer questions by reporters as to whether he was involved in the shooting death of police officer Sharon Beshenivsky, a 38-year-old mother of three killed outside a travel agency in Bradford while responding to an armed robbery call.

After the killing, six men were arrested in Britain but Khan, who was suspected of being the armed gang’s organizer, had fled abroad.  In 2016, police in Britain issued a fresh appeal for Khan who remained at large despite a reward of £20,000 for information leading to his arrest.

Aabar, the lawyer, said Khan has maintained his innocence during the investigation in Pakistan. He would fight to prove his client’s innocence, Aabar added, saying Khan was falsely implicated in the case.

Pakistani investigators are yet to complete their report into the 2005 crime that was committed in Britain,’ he said. ‘My client is suspected of links to that offense and he wants to be tried in Pakistan as he is a Pakistani citizen.’

‘His trial should be held in Pakistan,’ Aabar added. ‘My client can respond to any questions from British police via video link.’ 

Asked whether he would be fighting his extradition today, Khan replied: ‘I love Britain.’

PC Beshenivsky’s husband welcomed Khan’s arrest earlier this month, saying: ‘At last they’ve got him. It’s 2005 to now to get him. From my view, it will give me a bit of closure.

During the 2005 robbery, a bullet hit PC Beshenivsky’s rib, punctured her aorta and damaged her spine – causing her chest to fill with blood.  Her partner, PC Teresa Milburn, was also shot but survived.