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British court convict’s remission plea dismissed

British court convict’s remission plea dismissed

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by a British court convict seeking remission in his sentence.

A two-member divisional bench of the court ruled that sentences announced by foreign courts cannot be reduced in Pakistan.

In 2004, a court in Britain sentenced Asad Javed, a Pakistani national, to 25 years in prison for drug trafficking. Under a bilateral agreement on the repatriation of condemned prisoners, the convict was brought to Pakistan in 2010 to complete his sentence.

But according to the counsel for the federal government, ‘corrupt’ elements within the Ministry of Interior and the police allegedly obtained his released on ‘forged’ documents the same year.

In 2012, when the British government knew about the release of the convict, it stopped the repatriation of criminals to Pakistan.

As per an FIR registered with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on March 28, 2014, Javed was arrested under Section 4 (1) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

The Crown Court at Southwark, United Kingdom (UK), awarded him 25 years’ imprisonment. Since Pakistan and UK have domestic laws for repatriation of convicted prisoners to their respective countries and both are signatories to the bilateral agreement of August 24, 2007, Javed was handed over to Pakistani authorities on August 8, 2010.

But he was released from the Central Jail Karachi on September 9, 2010, after the home department granted him a remission, as per documents produced by the FIA in the IHC.

According to the documents, a section officer at the Interior Ministry, Ali Mohammad Malik, orchestrated Javed’s release by forwarding forged letters to the jail authorities, helping him to walk free and eventually flee to Dubai.

However, when the British government authorities learned that Javed had been released, it approached the interior ministry and demanded that they be allowed to verify the prisoner’s presence in the jail.

Javed then filed a petition with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and a single-member bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Anwar Khan Kasi accepted the petition and directed the authorities concerned to consider Javed’s request seeking remission.

However, the federal government through deputy attorney general Raja Khalid challenged the single bench’s order.

Before the two-member bench, comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui and Justice Athar Minallah, DAG Khalid maintained that Javed was transferred to Pakistan under an agreement to complete the sentence. Therefore, he was not entitled to even seek any reduction in the sentence.

Advocate Sher Afzal Khan, the counsel for Javed, on the other hand, contended that his client was entitled to remission. He referred to various judgments of Pakistani and British courts to establish his case.

But the division bench ruled that the court cannot accept any petition seeking reduction in sentence. The bench said the convict may approach relevant authorities to get any relief, which he may be entitled to.

Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2016

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