Barriers in the extradition of a British-Pakistani man accused of killing eight people in the United Kingdom were removed after the Islamabad High Court dismissed his petition challenging extradition to the islands.
While dismissing his petition, which sought a trial in Pakistan, IHC Chief Justice Mohammad Anwar Khan Kasi also vacated a stay granted earlier by the same court.
After extradition, Shahid Mehmood would be tried in a crown court for his role in an arson attack in Huddersfield that left eight people — all British-Pakistanis — dead.
On May 12, 2002, Mehmood and three accomplices — Shahid Iqbal, Nazar Hussain and Shakeel Shahzad — threw petrol bombs in a house located at Osborne Road in Huddersfield, England.
The ensuing fire killed five children three adults from the same family — Zaibun Nisa, 54, Nefessa Aziz, 35, Muhammad Ateequr Rehman, 18, Tayyaba Batool, 13, Rabia Batool, 10, Ateeqa Nawaz, five, Aneesa Nawaz, two, and six-month-old Najeeba Nawaz.
The four men were arrested soon after. While under trial and on bail, Mehmood fled to Pakistan.
In 2003, Iqbal was convicted on eight counts of murder, while Shahzad and Hussain were each convicted on eight counts of manslaughter.
According to documents presented in the IHC, “after committing the above said offence, the accused Shahid Mehmood ran away from the UK and came to Pakistan.”
The British government raised the issue with Pakistan through diplomatic channels and sought his extradition. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested Mahmood on January 22, 2015 and produced him before the Islamabad additional deputy commissioner.
In a statement before the commissioner, Mehmood claimed that he was arrested by the British police on May 12, 2002, and was released after being interrogated for his alleged involvement in the Huddersfield family murder case.
He also claimed that the government could not extradite him as there is no extradition treaty between the UK and Pakistan.
While admitting that there is no extradition treaty between the UK and Pakistan, the FIA said that a suspect could be extradited if the government issues a notification under the Extradition Act, which allows for extradition to countries with which no direct agreement exists.
The FIA further said that the suspect had violated British laws and should be prosecuted in UK. “The fugitive offender is a UK national and he can face a fair trial in the UK,” The FIA’s rejoinder stated.
Mehmood’s counsel, Qamar Afzal, argued that the additional commissioner did not properly examine the matter and that his inquiry report was flawed.
Deputy Attorney General Fazalur Rehman Niazi argued that Mehmood was a fugitive from a British court could not claim any relief from Pakistani courts. He added that the accused wanted to be tried in Pakistan as he believes that he could be absolved of the murder charges after paying blood money to the legal heirs of the slain family.
Niazi said that Mehmood was provided the complete opportunity of defence and the commissioner recommended his extradition after a detailed examination.
While observing that there was no illegality in the inquiry report of the commissioner, the court dismissed Mehmood’s petition.
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