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June 20, 2019

Britain won’t sign treaty for political extraditions: Hunt

Top Story

June 20, 2019

LONDON: British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has stated his country will not sign any extradition treaty which could be used for politically motivated cases.

At a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) here on Wednesday, both ministers confirmed they had discussed an extradition treaty between the two countries.

Both Hunt and Qureshi answered questions posed by The News regarding such a treaty and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). To a question, Hunt replied: “Let me say it straightforward. No extradition treaty the UK would ever sign that would allow for politically motivated extradition.”

Qureshi added: “Correct. And we do not want to use extradition for political victimisation, that’s not the idea. We feel that extradition (treaty) is important. We discussed with the 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.”

Qureshi appreciated the UK government’s approach on the FATF. “We had a constructive discussion on the FATF. They (the UK government) have stated very clearly that they would not like Pakistan to be pushed in the black list. In fact they would want to help us — and we help ourselves — by getting us out of the grey list and we have a clear approach on how to cooperate on that front. The UK delegation has been very supportive in Orlando.”

Hunt said the personal connection the two countries have is truly extraordinary. “We had very good discussion about the bilateral trade, cooperation in multi-lateral arenas, regional tensions and working together to reduce them. The Secretary of State for 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 had recently started services from London to Pakistan.

He said Pakistan and the UK have been great friends for many years and “today is the reaffirmation of that friendship”. He said he had met Qureshi on many occasions and that he enjoyed an “excellent working relationship with him”.

Qureshi said both sides had a great discussion on regional issues and how the “PTI 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”. He said there was a huge potential between the countries. Hunt said he was “very encouraged to see strong commitment of tackling corruption by the Pakistan government, the progress made on FATF, additional progress that can also be made in that area”.

The Foreign Secretary said that there is a “very clear recognition from 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 has a clear view about tackling corruption and that he how important this is. He said its PTI’s view that the stolen assets should be recovered. He said his government wanted to eliminate corruption through across the board accountability.

“Stolen assets should be recovered. We have an Assets Recovery Unit functioning in Pakistan. The government is doing whatever it can to deal with the menace of corruption.”

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