PETALING JAYA: Malaysia should have used the extradition treaty it has with Pakistan in handling the case of exiled journalist Syed Fawad Ali Shah, says P Waytha Moorthy.
Waytha was responding to a parliamentary written reply by home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail that Fawad was deported to Pakistan last August as he did not possess a valid entry pass and was, therefore, in breach of the Immigration Act.
“Saifuddin has been misled by top immigration officers to justify the actions of the previous director-general (Khairul Dzaimee Daud) in unlawfully cooperating with Pakistan’s secret service (Inter-Services Intelligence) in a clandestine manner,” the former national unity minister said in a statement.
“Malaysia has an extradition treaty with Pakistan. The government should have used the treaty and its legal provisions in handling Fawad’s case.
“That would have given Fawad an avenue to be legally represented and ventilate his case in a court of law that his stay in Malaysia was legal under international laws and his recognised status under the Geneva Refugee Convention.”
Waytha also pointed out that Fawad had been in Malaysia for a decade and had been cooperating with the authorities and in close contact with the police as well as immigration officials during that time.
To then deport Fawad on grounds of not having legal entry reeks of “irresponsibility”, he said.
“The minister must take cognisance that Fawad’s enforced disappearance is a crime against humanity as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court 1998 and Malaysian individuals responsible could be held culpable despite the fact we are not a signatory to the Rome Statute.”
He added that Fawad’s deportation was also a clear violation of the Refugee Convention 1951.
Fawad, 41, was deported to Pakistan on Aug 25 last year.
In January, Saifuddin said while the Malaysian media had described Fawad as a journalist, Pakistani authorities claimed that he was a former policeman with disciplinary problems, a claim that was denied by Fawad’s wife, Syeda, and his lawyer in Pakistan, Imaan Hazir.
Saifuddin added that the Pakistani authorities had requested through their high commission in Kuala Lumpur that Fawad be located and asked to return to his home country.
On March 16, Imaan confirmed that Fawad had been released from prison after being detained for more than six months following his deportation.
Fawad, who holds a United Nations refugee card, had sought asylum in Malaysia for alleged persecution in Pakistan over articles published in several English dailies there related to alleged government corruption.