ISLAMABAD: Will Interpol heed the red warrant issued by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to bring back former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar?
In April this year, Interpol dismissed a similar attempt seeking arrest Pakistan’s former ambassador to Washington Hussain Haqqani and hand over to Islamabad. Article 3 of the Interpol Constitution, sometimes referred to as the neutrality clause, is relevant here. It says in order to ensure the widest possible cooperation between the police authorities of its member States, it is strictly forbidden for the International Criminal Police Organisation--Interpol--to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.The article is commonly used to ensure the legitimate everyday application of the Constitution.
While dismissing the previous request, Interpol had stated in a letter released by its office of legal affairs that the organisation hereby certifies that as of today [April 18, 2018], Husain Haqqani is not subject to an Interpol Blue Notice or diffusion and is not known in its data basis. The communication had been issued on the request of Haqqani’s lawyer.
The Supreme Court had insisted that Haqqani be brought back to Pakistan. Apart from summoning him in the Memogate scandal, the FIA had also registered a case against him for embezzlement and other crimes, hoping it would get Interpol to accept its request.
Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan has now told the apex court that the FIA has issued the red warrant against Dar after approval by the Interior Ministry. The FIA has approached Interpol to bring Dar back to Pakistan, he said adding that the option of cancelling Dar’s passport was being considered but had not been executed yet as if the document was rescinded, the accused might use it as an excuse not to come to Pakistan.
Red warrant is meant for the people, who are wanted in proven crimes and whose whereabouts are not known. In the instant case, Dar is in Britain and his lawyer is regularly appearing before the Supreme Court, submitting his applications, but he himself is not attending the proceedings. His is a case of extradition, but the handicap Pakistan faces is that it has no such treaty with Britain, which even, otherwise, is opposed to signing any such accord. The Interpol Constitution is divided into 11 parts that outline the key points of the organisation’s aims, activities and structure. The part of “general provisions” represents the core foundations of the organisation, and gives it a particularly broad mandate.
The aims of the organisation are outlined in Article 2. They are, first, to ensure the widest possible cooperation between all criminal police authorities and, second, to establish and develop institutions in order to suppress ordinary law crimes. The mandate given to the organisation is thus rather general and the scope makes it possible to enlarge the organisation's ways of operating according to the needs of different times and situations. Article 2 specifies that the international police cooperation is to be conducted within the "spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights", thus laying out the foundation for the organisation's obligation to respect fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals in the course of its actions. This is complemented by Article 3.
Interpol is an international police organisation with the primary aim of advancing international police cooperation. On account of its diverse membership, it was very early on (1946) determined that its focus would be the prevention of and combating of ordinary law crimes as opposed to political, military, religious and racial crimes. The resolve to limit its engagement to ordinary law crimes is grounded in Articles 2 and 3.
The interpretation of Article 3 follows the developments of international law in general and extradition law in particular. In 1984 the Interpol’s General Assembly adopted a Resolution (AGN/53/RES/7) which made it possible for the organisation to engage, under certain circumstances, in cases related to terrorism. This position, adopted despite the fact that terrorism remains inherently political, is aligned with developments in international extradition practice. Terrorism is no longer considered a political offence for purposes of extradition, thereby falling outside the political offence exception in international extradition law. The scope of Interpol’s engagement in terrorist offences was expanded to include the charge of membership in terrorist organisations in 2004 (Resolution AG-2004-RES-18).