Pakistan has no actual extradition treaty with the US, the country’s Supreme Court said on Friday while hearing a case of an American national of Pakistani origin accused of planning a bomb attack in New York in 2016.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, challenged the extradition of Talha Haroon to the US till a final decision in the case.
The Additional Attorney General told the court that there was an extradition treaty between Pakistan and the US, asserting that America had extradited two suspects, Farid Tawakal and Farooq Tawakal, to Pakistan in 2008, The Express Tribune reported.
An official from the foreign affairs ministry said Pakistan had adopted a bilateral agreement signed between the US and the UK in 1932.
Justice Qazi Amin inquired if Pakistan had unilaterally adopted the agreement.
“It is not correct to say that all states are equal,” he added.
The judge noted that the court had to see if there was any legal justification for the extradition of the accused to the US.
“There is virtually no extradition treaty with the US,” he said.
In response, the Additional Attorney General said that there was an agreement through which the accused were exchanged.
He said that Haroon was accused of plotting an attack while living in the US.
“Talha Haroon is also a US citizen,” he said, adding that the suspect was arrested in 2016.
Justice Munib noted that the agreement that was being pointed out was a pre-partition one.
Justice Amin asked how could a pre-partition agreement be a binding on Pakistan, and told the Additional Attorney General if the agreement he was showing included the crime of terrorism.
The counsel for the accused said that Pakistan enacted a law in 1972 to extradite the accused.
Justice Munib said that according to the documents it was unclear that the accused was in America at the time of the attack. He said Haroon was accused of funding, not terrorism.
He asked the Foreign Office officials to be fully prepared at the next hearing.
The counsel for the Haroon said his client had been in jail for four and a half years and should be granted bail.
The apex court rejected the plea bail of the accused. It also extended the stay order on Haroon’s extradition to the US.