UK refuses to sign ‘politically-motivated’ extradition treaty with Pakistan


–Qureshi tells British counterpart Pakistan does not intend to use extradition for political victimisation 

–Hunt lauds Pakistan’s ‘strong commitment of tackling corruption, progress made on FATF’


LONDON: Britain has categorically told Pakistan that it would not sign any extradition treaty that could be used for politically-motivated cases.

Addressing a joint press conference with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the two had discussed the issue of an extradition treaty between UK and Pakistan.

“Let me say it straightforward. UK will never sign any treaty allowing for politically motivated extradition,” said the British official to which Qureshi added that Pakistan did not intend to use the treaty against political rivals.

“We don’t want to use extradition for political victimisation; we feel that extradition [treaty] is important,” he said.

Qureshi said that he had discussed with the British foreign secretary the impediment in signing this treaty, which was capital punishment. “We have resolved that by making amendments in Pakistan’s Penal Code. We have taken the decision of making amendment in that.

“This will not be misused but there’s an environment which needs to be discussed and concluded,” he added.

Separately, Qureshi appreciated the UK government’s approach on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

“We had a constructive discussion on the FATF. [The UK government] have stated very clearly that they would not like Pakistan to be pushed in the blacklist.

“In fact, they would want to help us — and we help ourselves — by getting us out of the greylist and we have a clear approach on how to cooperate on that front. The UK delegation has been very supportive in Orlando,” the FM said.

The British foreign secretary also commented on the bilateral ties between the UK and Pakistan, saying the personal connection the two countries have was truly extraordinary.

“We had [a] very good discussion about the bilateral trade, cooperation in multilateral arenas, regional tensions, and working together to reduce them.

“The secretary of state for the international trade has increased the support for Pakistan from up to £400 million to £1 billion,” he said, adding he was delighted that British Airways recently restarted their services from London to Islamabad.

Hunt noted that Pakistan and the UK have been great friends for many years and “today is the reaffirmation of that friendship”. He had met Qureshi on many occasions, he added, underscoring that he enjoyed “excellent working relationship with him”.

Qureshi reiterated that both sides had a great discussion on regional issues and how the “PTI [Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf] government played a role in defusing a tense situation after Pulwama attack and how this government has played its role in tackling issues of money-laundering, terror-financing, FATF and where Pakistan stands on all these issues”.

Hunt said he was “very encouraged to see strong commitment of tackling corruption by the Pakistan government, the progress made on FATF, [and] additional progress that can also be made in that area”.

The foreign secretary said there was a “very clear recognition from the Pakistani government that the only way for Pakistan to progress is to do more to tackle this scourge of corruption and I think a lot of progress has been made”.

Qureshi said the PTI had a clear view of tackling corruption, that he understood how important it was, and that it was the PTI’s view that stolen assets should be recovered. He added that his government wished to eliminate corruption through across-the-board accountability.

“Stolen assets should be recovered. We have an assets recovery unit [ARU] functioning in Pakistan. The government is doing whatever it can to deal with the menace of corruption.”