Pak investigators to seek Musharraf extradition

Pakistan`s Federal Investigation Agency will seek the extradition of former President Pervez Musharraf after his refusal to appear before an anti-terrorism court.

Updated: Feb 13, 2011, 16:05 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan`s Federal
Investigation Agency will seek the extradition of former
President Pervez Musharraf after his refusal to appear before
an anti-terrorism court on charges that he failed to provide
adequate security to slain former premier Benazir Bhutto.

"We have decided to write to the Home Secretary of the
UK for General Musharraf`s extradition," an unnamed senior FIA
official was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune
newspaper.

The decision was made at a meeting chaired yesterday
by Interior Minister Rehman Malik, the report said.

An anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi yesterday issued
a warrant for the arrest of Musharraf after the special
prosecutor handling the case alleged that he had not
cooperated with the investigation into Bhutto`s assassination.

Pakistan and Britain do not have a formal extradition
treaty, which is likely to make the process complicated, said
legal expert Salman Akram Raja.

Any extradition request will depend on relevant
British laws, he said.

Musharraf`s legal advisor Muhammad Ali Saif said there was "no possibility" of the former military ruler
appearing in court despite the warrant.

He also challenged the allegations levelled against
Musharraf.

The FIA earlier named Musharraf as an "absconder",
saying he had failed to cooperate with investigators.

Musharraf was accused of failing to provide adequate
security to Bhutto after she returned to Pakistan from
self-exile in October 2007.

Bhutto was killed by a suicide attacker in Rawalpindi
two months later.

Investigators have also alleged that two police
officers, who were recently arrested for negligence in
providing security to Bhutto, were acting on Musharraf`s
instructions.

The prosecution is also dealing with a change of the
head of the team investigating Bhutto`s killing.
The Interior Minister has appointed FIA Director Wajid
Zia as the new head of the team.

Khalid Qureshi, the former head, will join a course at
the Lahore Staff College this week.

However, some observers believe the government was
unhappy with Qureshi because he implicated Musharraf without
taking the Interior Minister on board and revealed his
findings in court, The Express Tribune reported.

The observers criticised the Interior Minister`s
decision to appoint a junior official to head the
investigation, saying it might slow down the momentum of the
probe. The prosecution has not alleged that there is any
direct conspiracy between slain Pakistani Taliban chief
Baitullah Mehsud and Musharraf, but it names both as jointly
responsible for Bhutto`s death.

"Musharraf was equally responsible for facilitation
and complicity in the assassination of Ms Benazir Bhutto
through failure in providing her the requisite security that
her status demanded as a twice-elected premier," said a
57-page report submitted by the prosecution in court.

According to the prosecution, Musharraf was aware of
the imminent danger to Bhutto`s life but did not take action
to prevent her assassination.

PTI