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Islamabad High Court to hear bail plea of US terror suspect on Friday

Islamabad High Court to hear bail plea of US terror suspect on Friday

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) will hear the bail plea later this week of an American citizen of Pakistani origin awaiting extradition to the United States for allegedly planning an attack on New York in connivance with the militant Islamic State (IS) group, the suspect's lawyer said on Tuesday.

Talha Haroon was arrested in November 2016. The 19-year-old is one of three suspected IS sympathisers who allegedly plotted to cause bloodshed in New York before US agents reportedly thwarted the plot, US authorities said.

Haroon's defence lawyer Idrees Ashraf said IHC Chief Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqi on Tuesday asked for a response from the interior ministry in Haroon's plea and set the next hearing for Friday.

Ashraf said his client's father Haroon Rashid previously obtained a stay of his son's extradition from the same court. Rashid earlier claimed his son was innocent and would be in danger if sent to the US.

Earlier, US federal law enforcement officials said they disrupted the plot which targeted New York City locations, including concert venues, subway stations and Times Square.

The FBI report, handed over to the interior ministry for the extradition of the suspect, says that he, along with his co-conspirator and an undercover FBI agent, “plotted to carry out deadly bombings in heavily populated areas of New York City in the name of the [IS]”.

The report claimed that Haroon was stationed in Pakistan in April of last year and planned attacks on the New York Subway, Times Square and a concert. The report also claimed that Haroon had been associated with the Taliban in the past and had later switched his allegiance to IS.

But the 64-page report did not disclose how the teenager was inducted into the IS or how much funding the terrorist group had committed or provided to the suspects.

According to prosecutors, a 19-year-old Canadian citizen, Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, bought materials to make a bomb but was arrested after travelling from Canada to New Jersey in May of 2016. Russell Salic, 37, was arrested in the Philippines in April.

This is not the first time that US is seeking the custody of an individual from Pakistan in connection with planning and executing terrorism and criminal activities.

In 1995, Pakistani government handed over Ramzi Yousaf to the US in connection with 1993 bombing on World Trade Center and in 1997, Pakistan extradited Mir Aimel Kasi an accused of killing two agents of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the CIA Headquarters in 1993.

After 9/11, scores of Pakistani citizens, including Dr Aafia Siddiqui, were handed over to the United States.

Former President retired General Pervez Musharraf in his book “In the Line of Fire” admitted that soon after 9/11, Pakistan handed over 369 people to the US authorities, and earned millions of dollars.

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