Pakistan has approached France-based Interpol for a Red Corner notice against former President Pervez Musharraf,seeking his arrest and extradition to the country over his alleged involvement in the assassination of ex-Premier Benazir Bhutto.
The Interior Ministry has forwarded the request to the Interpol Secretariat through the global police organisation’s representative in Pakistan,the Dawn newspaper reported today,quoted sources.
Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) senior prosecutor,Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali,said a letter had earlier been sent to the Director of Interpol (Pakistan) by the officer leading the investigation into Bhutto’s assassination in 2007.
The formal request states that 68-year-old Musharraf,who has been living in self-exile in Dubai and Britain since 2009,is an accused in the case.
The investigating officer handed over to the Interpol director in Pakistan investigation reports,copies of statements by then director-general of ISI’s counter-intelligence wing Javed Iqbal Cheema and former Intelligence Bureau director general Ejaz Shah,US-based journalist Marc Siegel’s email to Bhutto and copies of orders issued by an anti-terrorism court.
The letter sent by email to Interpol Pakistan on February 2 stated: “Secretary General of Interpol Secretariat Lyon (France) is requested to issue ‘red warrants’ for Pervez Musharraf,former President of Pakistan,and arrest him through Interpol. A copy of red notice may please be furnished to this ministry.”
The email mentioned the computerised national identity card number of Musharraf.
In minor cases,countries generally take a lenient view even after the issuance of Red Corner notices and avoid extraditing the accused,prosecutor Ali said.
However,in cases related to terrorism and murder,governments assist each other,he said.
Since Bhutto’s assassination case was registered under section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code (related to murder) and sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act related to serious offences of terrorism,Pakistan is expecting an “immediate and positive response” to the request for arresting Musharraf,the report said.
But Ahmer Bilal Sufi,an expert in international law,said a Red Corner notice was not a replacement for extradition arrangements.
“It is only an intimation of ‘wanted man’ of a country to other countries,” he said.
Since there is no extradition treaty between Pakistan and Britain,the latter is not legally bound to extradite Musharraf even if Interpol issues the Red Corner notice for him,Sufi said.