One of Pakistan’s top courts has blocked the extradition of five senior Afghan Taliban commanders to Afghanistan, the United States, or any other country.
The Lahore High Court has prohibited the Pakistani government from transferring Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Afghan Taliban’s second in command, and four other members of the Quetta Shura to foreign custody after receiving a petition from a lawyer with known links to the Taliban and al Qaeda.
Over the past two months, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, aided by the CIA, has detained Mullah Baradar; Maulvi Abdul Kabir, the leader of the Peshawar Regional Military Shura; Mullah Abdul Salam, the shadow governor of Kunduz; Mullah Mir Mohammed, the shadow governor of Baghlan province; and Mohammed Younis, the former shadow governor of Zabul province, during raids throughout the country.
Today the Lahore High Court blocked the transfer of Baradar and the four other senior Afghan Taliban leaders after receiving a petition from Khalid Khawaja, a self-described humans rights activist with deep ties to the Taliban, al Qaeda, and a host of terrorist groups operating on Pakistani soil. Khawaja is a former Squadron Commander in the Pakistani Air Force who fought alongside al Qaeda and reportedly Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He has also been linked to the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
In his petition to the Lahore High Court, Khawaja said that the “the detention of the six [sic] persons mentioned above is without lawful authority, in an unlawful manner and of no legal effect.” [See Threat Matrix report, “Khawaja’s petition blocks extradition of Mullah Baradar” for the full text of his petition to the Lahore High Court]
Khawaja also stated that Bahadar and his deputies “are presumed to be innocent” and that they represent the legitimate government of Afghanistan.
“[T]hey being party in the Taliban Government and having some governing position in the Government may not be considered to be offenders,” Khawaja’s petition read.
Khawaja also launched into conspiracy theories alleging that the US desired to “to rule over the whole world” and “overcome Muslims.”
The Lahore High Court has ruled in the favor of terror groups in the past. In June of 2009, the court ordered Hafiz Saeed, the leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its successor front group Jamaat-ud-Dawa, to be released from house arrest. In October 2009, the court said the government has no legal standing to place Jamaat-ud-Dawa on the list of banned terror groups and dismissed charges against Saeed.
Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa , and Saeed have been directly implicated by the US and India in carrying out the November 2009 terror assault in Mumbai, India. In that attack, more than 170 people were killed and the Lashkar-e-Taiba assault teams were able to shut down the city for more than 60 hours.
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