Omar may be handed over to US, says official -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Omar may be handed over to US, says official

ISLAMABAD- According to the extradition treaty with the United States which Pakistan adopted in 1947, British-born militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, main suspect in Pearl’s kidnap and murder can be handed over to the US if his Pakistani citizenship is established, as authorities are not sure whether he is Pakistani national.

“It is not confirmed that he (Omar Sheikh) is a Pakistani national, this has to be checked,” Abdur Rashid Khan, additional secretary and official spokesman for the Interior Ministry said.

He said: “Unless he renounces his Pakistani citizenship, the presumption is that he is holding double nationality.”

Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh, whose parents hail from the occupied Kashmir, was born and educated in England, entered into Pakistan in 1999 from Afghanistan along with Maulana Azhar Masood- both were brought in Kandhar by Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh for the release of Indian hijacked plan.

Contrary to reports emanating from the United States that no extradition treaty exists, Pakistan has extradited about 20 persons in last 10 years. Majority of those so far extradited were alleged drug smugglers.

Khawaja Haris, an advocate of the Supreme Court, specialised in extradition issues, said that Pakistan had adopted the extradition treaty, which British-India had signed with the United States in 1934. The treaty was adopted by the Pakistan in 1947, and later the law was codified in 1972.

According to the procedure laid down in the Extradition Act 1972, upon receipt of extradition request the matter is referred to the Additional Deputy Commissioner General (ADCG) Islamabad, for inquiry.

The ADCG has to give recommendation to the federal government whether the material provided by the country seeking extradition of a citizen, was prima facie enough to indict him in court of law.

The law provides that after the recommendation of the ADCG, the individual concerned cannot be handed over for 15 days to the foreign country. This period is used by them for filing writ petition in the high court, taking several grounds including the issue of sovereignty.

Mr Haris who represented majority of the person whose extradition was sought by United States, said extradition law provides that if there were genuine apprehensions that the person would be discriminated religiously, or politically then the extradition request can be turned down. With the exception of one person, brother of film actress Anjuman, all those whose extradition was sought were handed over to the United States.
Source: Dawn
Date:2/27/2002