ISLAMABAD: A British man who murdered eight British citizens wants to be tried by the Pakistani courts.
Shahid Mehmood, a Pakistani origin British national, is charged with killing eight British citizens of a single family.
Mr Mehmood approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against his possible extradition to the United Kingdom, and IHC Chief Justice Mohammad Anwar Kasi after the preliminary hearing issued a stay order in the matter.
According to court documents, on May 12, 2002, Mr Mehmood “along with three other co-accused Shahid Iqbal, Nazar Hussain and Shakeel Shahzad threw a petrol bomb in a house situation on Osborne Road, Huddersfield, England, in which all the eight people sleeping in the house were murdered”.
“After committing the above said offence, the accused Shahid Mehmood ran away from the UK and came to Pakistan,” the documents said.
The British government raised the matter with Pakistan through diplomatic channels, and upon receiving the extradition request last January the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested Mr Mehmood.
He was taken into custody on Jan 22, 2015, and produced before the additional deputy commissioner of Islamabad.
Before the additional commissioner, the suspect said he was arrested by British police on May 12, 2002, and interrogated before being released on bail. He pleaded that the British police issued his arrest warrants after more than 10 years. He also claimed the government could not extradite him since there is no extradition treaty between the UK and Pakistan.
Instead, he offered to be tried by the Pakistani courts, saying he could pay the heirs of the deceased blood money, as he is permitted to pay a certain amount under Islamic laws.
The FIA admitted that there is no extradition treaty between the UK and Pakistan, but said that a suspect could be extradited if the government issues a notification under section 4 of the Extradition Act 1972, which has been issued and published in the official gazette by the competent authority.
The FIA’s rejoinder added that the suspect had violated British laws and could only be prosecuted in the UK. “The fugitive offender is a UK national and he can face fair trial in the UK,” it said.
A lawyer privy to developments in the case said well-off suspects in such situations prefer to be tried in Pakistani courts because they believe they have more ways to get themselves acquitted.
In addition to the Qisas and Diyat laws that would allow the suspect to pay blood money and have himself absolved, the suspect may also benefit from loopholes in the criminal justice system, the lawyer said.
According to Ahmer Bilal Soofi, an international law export, a suspect can contest extradition but it is the state’s sovereign right to make the final decision.
“The individual can challenge extradition on the basis of non-existence of the treaty and the right of fair trial but it is not the matter of his choice,” he explained.
Courtesy : Dawn News