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Local laws apply to convict transferred to Pakistan: SC

Local laws apply to convict transferred to Pakistan: SC

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has held that an individual convicted in a foreign land but transferred to Pakistan to complete the rest of his sentence will be governed by local laws. And in case the sentence is not compatible with the local laws, a competent court of law can adopt that sentence to make it compatible with the laws of Pakistan.

A three-judge SC bench comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel observed this in a judgement on an appeal filed by one Asjad Javed against the Feb 2, 2016 verdict of the Islamabad High Court which had rejected his plea for release from prison after challenging his arrest.

The bench held that the high court, while dismissing the petitioner’s plea, had not committed any illegality or irregularity.

“Resultantly, this petition having no merits is hereby dismissed and the leave asked for is refused,” wrote Justice Maqbool Baqar in the six-page order.

Asjad Javed was arrested in the United Kingdom on Dec 23, 2003 under the offence of conspiracy to supply 196 kilograms of cocaine. He was tried and convicted by the Crown Court. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison on July 23, 2004.

After serving about six years and 28 days sentence in the UK, Asjad was transferred to Pakistan pursuant to an agreement entered into between the Pakistan and UK governments for transfer of prisoners under the Transfer of Offenders Ordinance 2002.

He was detained in Karachi’s central prison on Aug 21, 2010. But he allegedly managed to get himself released in collusion with interior ministry’s section officer (law) Ali Mohammad Malik.

After Asjad was arrested again on the intervention of the UK government, he first instituted a petition before the high court and then filed an appeal in the Supreme Court, questioning his arrest and seeking release from the prison.

Both the SC and high court dismissed his pleas.

While deciding the case, Justice Baqar also dealt with the issue of remission or pardon in the sentence of imprisonment awarded to the offender and held that the same could be granted or extended to him under the laws of Pakistan.

Moreover, the offender can claim any remission of his sentence of imprisonment to which he became entitled to on the date of his transfer in accordance with the law relating to the remissions of sentence in such specified country.

The court reiterated that the offender was entitled to the grant of pardon or remission of sentence by the president under Article 45 of the Constitution or by any other authority under the laws of Pakistan for the time being in force as provided in Section 9(2) of the Transfer of Offenders Ordinance 2002.

But for this purpose the offender has to approach the authority concerned as defined in the law which is the interior ministry in this case, the verdict held.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2017

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