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Interpol rejects Pak request for Hussain Nawaz’s extradition

By Murtaza Ali Shah
April 08, 2019

LONDON: The Interpol has refused to issue red warrant for the arrest and extradition of Hussain Nawaz Sharif on the application of Pakistani government, dealing a big blow to the international efforts made by the current government against the family of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. This correspondent saw official papers, confirming that the decision to reject the application against Hussain Nawaz was made by the Interpol’s commission, comprising five members and headed by its chairperson, during its 10th session.

The papers show that the Pakistani authorities made robust representations to the international body, relying on the recent court decision against Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain (retd) Safdar, but it failed to convince the Interpol for issuing a red warrant against the eldest son of former prime minister. Pakistan made representations through the Interpol’s National Central Bureau (NCB) in Islamabad.

While hundreds of documents were produced by both sides in favour of their cases, the Interpol Commission’s decision was made on 11 pages summing up case of both sides succinctly and then declaring that the NCB has failed to produce “sufficient evidence” linking Hussain Nawaz with the charges made against him in the application seeking red warrant. The decision reads: “The Commission finds that the NCB of Pakistan has not provided sufficient facts that specifically link the wanted individual to the charges against him and it is not able to confirm that the data registered would be in compliance with Interpol’s rule and in view of the Article 83 of the PRD.”

It added: “For the reasons, the Commission decides that the data concerning the applicant are not compliant with Interpol’s rules applicable to the proceeding of personal data and that they shall be deleted from Interpol’s files.” It noted: “However, the applicant’s personal and specific role in the offence forming the base of the Red Notice request remains unclear even after further elements were provided by the NCB of Pakistan.”

The News has seen full volume of the communication between the Pakistani government and the Interpol. It shows that on January 22 2018, Hussain Nawaz initially requested access to Interpol’s files, and then subsequently made a complaint addressed to the Commission for the control of Interpol files on July 11, 2018. His request was made admissible in accordance with Rule 20 of the operating rules of the Commission on August 13, 2018. The Commission consulted the NCBs of Pakistan and the UK and the Interpol General Secretariat (IPSG) in accordance with Article 34 of the CCF statute. It informed Hussain Nawaz on August 2, 2018 that the NCB of Pakistan had requested a Red Notice and the Commission informed the Applicant on October 2, 2018 that he is wanted through Interpol’s channels by Pakistan.

Imran Khan’s government stated in its application that Hussain Nawaz “is the subject of a Red Notice request from Pakistan for ‘accumulation of assets beyond known source of income’ on the basis of an arrest warrant issued on 10 July 2018 by the judge accountability court No 1, Islamabad”.

The Pakistani government told Interpol that Hussain Nawaz did not appear before the accountability court and was “declared a proclaimed offender by the accountability court through order dated 15.11.17”.

It said: “During the course of investigation conducted it is found that the accused Nawaz Sharif being a public office holder owned Avenfield apartments and properties flats bearing 16, 16-1, 17 and 17-A beyond its known sources of income and shown to be acquired the same in the name of accused Hussain Nawaz Sharif (since declared proclaimed offender) of which the accused Maryam Nawaz was made as the trustee, which from record and forensic report has been proved to be fake and fabricated, by this way the accused and Hussain being benamidar aided, abetted and conspired and coincided themselves with Nawaz Sharif in commission of offence”.

The Pakistan NCB told the Interpol that a reference was filed against Nawaz Sharif with accountability court 1, Islamabad, as the accused never appeared before the accountability court and then he was declared a proclaimed offender in absence on November 15, 2017.

Hussain Nawaz, responding, requested the detention of the data concerning him, contending in essence: the proceedings do not respect the principles of due process and human rights; the case is of a predominantly political character; the prosecution lacks any evidentiary basis.

While considering case of both sides, the Interpol noted that Article 3 of its constitution strictly prohibited it to undertake any intervention or activities of a political character. Hussain Nawaz informed the Commission that it has been established that the judgment against the applicant’s family members raised serious questions about the way in which the proceedings were undertaken in the accountability court and the reliability of the judgment as there were obvious defects indicating that a sound and objective basis of the judgment was missing, reinforcing the applicant’s well founded concerns that he would not receive a fair trial.

The NCB of Pakistan informed the commission that the applicant is entitled to a fair trial and due process as guaranteed by Article 10-A of Pakistan Constitution of 1973 which will be strictly followed when the applicant is brought to the concerned court of law. The NCB said that allegations of Hussain Nawaz are baseless and that Nawaz Sharif, Maryam and her husband have enjoyed full rights during and after the trial. The Commission was told that Pakistani authorities sent him summons on the UK address to attend the trial but he willfully failed to join the trial proceedings before the accountability court in Islamabad.

On the issue of human rights, the Commission noted that it was not its role to “assess a country’s law enforcement or judicial system but to examine the compliance of the data with Interpol’s rules on the basis of specific information related to the request. Hussain Nawaz argued that proceedings against his family were politically motivated, designed to damage the Sharif family and through them, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, to the advantage of PTI led by Imran Khan.

The NCB argued that Hussain Nawaz’s arguments are baseless and aimed at avoiding the prosecution process in Pakistan. It said that Nawaz Sharif was tried through a fair process and all obligations were met.

The NCB of the UK explained it did not have any ongoing proceedings against Hussain Nawaz. Hussain Nawaz claimed that the prosecution failed to bring positive evidence on record to prove the price at which the assets were acquired and the known sources of income of the accused at the relevant time and that it was unable to refer to any document showing the price at which the apartments had been purchased at the relevant time.