In a blow to the Pakistan government, international police co-operation agency – the Interpol has refused to extradite the country’s former high-ranking diplomat Husain Haqqani.
Haqqani is wanted by Pakistan’s Supreme Court in connection with cases of treason and embezzlement of funds. In January 2018, Pakistan’s Chief Justice had reopened the Memogate case after a hiatus of five years, saying in open court “Where is Husain Haqqani?” and issuing warrants for his appearance before the apex court.
The Supreme Court had issued warrants to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to produce Haqqani, a prominent critic of Pakistan's military, but the Interpol had refused to issue an arrest warrant against him in April last year.
The Interpol has again rejected Pakistan’s request to arrest Haqqani as there was no criminal charge pending against Haqqani and international law did not have any provision for action against an individual refusing to appear before a court in a political case.
The Interpol also rejected Pakistan’s request as it said the international warrant reflects political bias rather than criminal antecedents. Interpol pointed out that criminal charges have been initiated against Haqqani seven years after he resigned as ambassador and after he turned a vocal critic of Pakistan’s military establishment.
This firm rejection by the Interpol means that Pakistan has to now look at approaching the Trump Administration on a bilateral level if it wants to pursue Haqqani’s extradition. Hence, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs might approach the US government for Haqqani's extradition after this second refusal by the Interpol.
The former diplomat commented on the developments, saying he has always been confident that false charges will not hold up outside of Pakistan. "This entire matter has only been for the benefit of Pakistani media from day one and is part of the effort to persecute and harass dissidents," he added.
Haqqani has served as former ambassador of Pakistan to Sri Lanka and the United States. He is also the author of multiple books that look at Pakistan’s military establishment’s role in mismanaging the country – Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military; and Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding.