DesPardes + PKonweb

Extradition MoU: Did Ishaq Dar Bend Or Break Pakistan, UK Laws On White Collar Crime?

Pakistan’s former finance minister is a declared absconder in a graft case

PKONWEB Report — Pakistan’s and the British governments have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU)– absence extradition treaty, to start the process of dispatching former finance minister Ishaq Dar back home. Dar, who has been declared an absconder in a graft case linking to the Panama Papers scandal remains in London.

The Pak-UK understanding comes precedent upon British authorities having made such special arrangements in recent years with the government of Rwanda and once with Taiwan on the principle of dual criminality having been met– in Dar’s case, the threshold might have been met (breaking both countries’ laws), said an expert.

The MoU also comes as Islamabad makes all out efforts to plug holes in the system for growing incidents of white collar crimes amid anti-money laundering and anti-terror financing mandates slapped by the Asia-Pacific FATF. Pakistan being on grey list has stepped up demonstrable efforts required by FATF to avoid being shifted to a black list.

The MoU will provide a legal basis between the two governments for the extradition of former finance minister Ishaq Dar to Pakistan.

68-year-old Dar, a close aide and relative of three-times elected former PM Nawaz Sharif, has been declared an absconder in a graft case and charged with acquiring assets worth Rs832 million, which was disproportionate to the known sources of his income, says NAB.

Similar instruments for extradition could be invoked on case-to-case basis against those under radar for having committed white collar crimes in Pakistan and transferred the looted public monies to UK, an expert says.

The MoU is quintessential of an overarching quid pro quo Pakistan seeks with the international stakeholders to maintain FATF sustainability, the expert said on condition of anonymity.

In a tweet, PM’s Special Assistant on Accountability Shahzad Akbar said he held meetings with UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field during his stay in London over the past week.

“[The] UK signs first ever MoU for extradition to Pakistan, setting legal basis for the extradition of Ishaq Dar in absence of a treaty,” he said.

Earlier on May 23, the UK home secretary had tweeted: “Pleasure to meet with @ShazadAkbar again this morning to discuss progress on UK-Pakistan efforts to tackle corruption.”

Graeme Biggar, the director of National Security at Britain’s interior ministry and Shahzad Akbar signed the MoU.

Meanwhile, Dar has urged the country’s anti-graft watch dog, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), to avoid taking any action that amounts to blackmailing and maligning the political leaders or other sections of the society.