By Iram Ali
(Pak Destiny) The PML-N government faced embarrassment after Interpol rejected its plea to arrest former Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) chairman Syed Asif Hashmi in Dubai.
ETPB incumbent chief and PML-N diehard Siddiqul Farooq must be upset after this decision as he was more keen to bring Hashmi back to Pakistan than serving the minorities interests by looking after their worship places.
Mr Hashmi was accused of a 203 kanal DHA-ETPB land deal. Mr Hashmi was of the view that the federal secretary had authorised the deal being the head of the ETPB chief. He said he had no direct connection with the deal besides the land involved in it was encroached upon Gulab Singh, the complainant of the case.
“In the DHA-ETPB deal no cash was involved therefore no question of embezzlement of funds arises and no recovery is due. The case was instituted to implicate him on political grounds,” Hashmi told Pak Destiny today.
According to the News, an estimated Rs12 million was spent on legal minds and investigators pleaded the case for four and a half years at national and international forums despite the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) findings submitted to a trial court that the agency had already made all recoveries in this case.
“Pakistan mission in the UAE and a law firm had agreed upon estimated 0.4 million dirham (Rs11.4 million) that is too high compared with other law firms’ fees,” revealed senior officials familiar with the latest updates in the said case.”
The years-long legal battle between Mr Hashmi and FIA ended up with these words: “The general secretariat of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) hereby certifies that, as of today [December 8, 2017] Mr Hashmi Syed Asif Akhtar, born on Sep 22, 1953, is not subject to an Interpol’s red notice or diffusion and is not known in Interpol databases. Interpol is aware that in the past the individual was subject of data recorded in Interpol’s database, yet the data was later cancelled.”
Office of Legal Affairs General Secretariat ICPO-INTERPOL informed the British Law Company, a firm hired by Mr Hashmi earlier this month. “Firm will find enclosed the decision of the commission concerning your client [Hashmi] and an official letter from the Interpol general secretariat, certifying that your client [Hashmi] not subject to in Interpol red notice or diffusion and that he is not known to its databases. To undertake any measures you deemed appropriate from the follow-up of your client’s [Hashmi] case at national level, we invite you to contact the relevant national authorities,” further revealed the continued communication.
“It’s very strange to me why our embassy was willing to pay such a huge amount for extradition of a person whose case has almost been concluded in Pakistan,” said the official who has now been assigned by the current ETPB Chairman Siddiqul Farooq to pursue this case with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Mr Farooq has been vigorously pursuing the case against his predecessor but despite all efforts in the last two years investigators failed to satisfy the authorities of the Middle Eastern country for Mr Hashmi’s extraditionthe News quoted informed officials said.
“It has been transpired that Islamabad’s request [for Hashmi’s extradition] does not include order of the courts; Pakistan’s embassy is requested to remove the discrepancies — also provide the court order for his repatriation,” a diplomat quoted a gist of the latest letter sent by the ministry of the Middle Eastern country to Islamabad.
FIA revealed in his final report, “the legal opinion/guidance is requested to be obtained in this regard for provision of proclamation order against accused U/S 87, 204 Cr.Pc by the court to be published in the newspapers for appearance before the court within one month.” But it could not be done successfully before Sep 19, 2014.
Siddiqul Farooq in his official letter on August 10, 2016 to then Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs said, “The Dubai authorities asked for a judicial request for extradition. This has not been demanded in any earlier cases in which extradition has been successfully processed before even from UAE. It is further recommended that Foreign Office may be requested to hire a local counsel/depute officers who are well conversant with legal acts to pursue this case before the public prosecution Dubai, so that such irrelevant all objections in this regard may be answered.” – Pak Destiny