SC orders extradition of Atif Sheikh from Dubai
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Thursday directed Interior Ministry to extradite Atif Sheikh, the main accused of drag race incident that had killed five and injured two, from Dubai through Interpol. The court also directed the Investigation Officer (IO) to carry out investigation and to proceed in accordance with law.
A two-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was hearing suo moto case regarding death of 11-year-old child Asfand Yar along with his father and others in a drag race in Bahria Town, Rawalpindi.
At the outset of hearing, Additional Advocate General, Punjab, Khadim Hussain Qaiser informed the court that Atif Sheikh, main accused, who had organised the drag race along with Adil Naeem had been arrested in Dubai and they requested Ministry of Interior through Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to bring him back in the country.
“Why the accused has not so far been extradited through Interpol, despite the court had on February 28 ordered his extradition.” the Chief Justice inquired.
The case IO Additional Deputy Inspector General Police Rawalpindi Major (r) Mubashir told the court that though the accused had filed an appeal with the Dubai government requesting he should not be sent back as he was being politically victimized in Pakistan, however efforts were on for his extradition.
The Chief Justice remarked the case could not proceed properly until the main accused is arrested. He said any one who commits crime here, flees abroad and starts leveling allegations of political victimization. He asserted no one was above the law. When the National Assembly members and federal ministers had been arrested here what was barring Atif’s arrest, he questioned. “Five innocent people have been killed in an illegal activity but no one cared”, he noted.
The IO also informed the court that the accused Atif Sheikh presented a fake medical certificate before the trial court, got bail and later fled away to Dubai on January 16. However, he said, FIA had managed his arrest through Interpol. He expected the accused would be brought back within two or three weeks.
The court directed the IO to produce the accused before the court immediately after his extradition. It also directed for submitting challans of other arrested accused without any delay.
IO submitted the report according to the investigation carried out so far. It appeared marketing department of Bahria Town that issued the conditional NOC and the Bahria Town security department working under Col. (Retd) Rafaqat were equally responsible to take actions to stop the drag race after no permission was granted to the organisers by the competent authority – District Coordination Officer, he said.
The chief justice also inquired the investigation officer that why had he not taken action against the sponsors. Mubashir responded the sponsors were being declared guilty and in accordance with the court directions he had issued notices to the sponsors.
Hamid Khan, counsel for son of Chief Executive Officer Bahria Town Ali Riaz, claimed before the court that there was no case against his client. The court adjourned the hearing for four weeks. On December 5 last year, five spectators of a drag race that took place in Phase VIII of Bahria Town were killed when one of the cars skidded off the road and ran them over. Driver of the car, Muhammad Majid Khan, reportedly a senior manager of national telecom giant had managed to escape from the scene. Four people Daniyal Khan, Babar Khan, Sohail Khan and Colonel (r) Mohsin Khan lost lives on the spot, while Asfand Yar was pronounced dead upon reaching the hospital. A woman Jamana Khan and a minor child Hamza Iqbal sustained injuries and were shifted to the nearby Safari Hospital.