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Pak not pursuing Musharrafs extradition from UK

Islamabad: Taking a U-turn, Pakistan has said it is "not pursuing" the extradition of former President Pervez Musharraf from the UK to ensure his appearance in court for a case related to ex-premier Benazir Bhutto`s murder, days after asserting that the matter will be taken up with Britain.

"We are not pursuing the extradition of Gen Musharraf from the UK," Interior Minister Rehman Malik said at a joint news conference yesterday with visiting British Immigration Minister Damian Green and Sayeeda Warsi, Chairperson of the UK`s ruling Conservative Party.

His remarks came days after Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) prosecutor Muhammad Azhar Chaudhry told the media that Musharraf`s extradition will be taken up with British authorities by Pakistan`s High Commission in London.

At the press conference, Green was asked about Musharraf`s possible extradition from Britain where the former military ruler has been living in self-exile since early 2009, but Malik advised him not to make any comment.

FIA chief Waseem Ahmed too told the media that the agency is not pursuing Musharraf`s extradition. He said the FIA had not contacted Interpol in this regard.

An anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of five suspects charged with involvement in Bhutto`s killing recently reissued an arrest warrant for Musharraf after investigators said he had ignored repeated requests to cooperate with the probe into the assassination.

The court has scheduled the next hearing of the case for March 5 and asked prosecutors to present Musharraf on that date.

An FIA investigation team visited Musharraf`s farmhouse at Chak Shahzad in Islamabad on Friday and served the arrest warrant.

A copy of the warrant bears the mailing address of Musharraf`s London apartment, an FIA source was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper.

The extradition of an accused from Britain to Pakistan is a complicated issue because the two countries do not have an extradition treaty.

Musharraf`s spokesman Muhammad Ali Saif said the government`s attempt to extradite Musharraf is futile and that he did not plan on cooperating with the investigation.

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