x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Pakistan's former oil and gas chief could be extradited from UAE in weeks

Tauqir Sadiq is wanted in his home country on allegations of an US$850 million (Dh3.1 billion) embezzlement.

DUBAI // The former head of Pakistan’s oil and gas regulator, Tauqir Sadiq, wanted in his home country on allegations of an US$850 million (Dh3.1 billion) embezzlement, will have his extradition case heard at a UAE Federal Court on April 15.

Mr Sadiq has been in Abu Dhabi Police custody for more than two months following his arrest in the capital.

Officials at Pakistan’s embassy in Abu Dhabi said that they are confident the extradition will be granted and Mr Sadiq will then be sent back to Pakistan within days of the hearing.

“The case of his extradition is an ongoing one and the next hearing at the Federal Court with the Ministry of Justice is on April 15,” said an official at the embassy who did not wish to be named.

“We are very hopeful of a positive response from the court and he will then be extradited very soon, possibly within days of the hearing.

“From our point of view we have provided all of the documentation regarding the extradition and it is now for the court process to run its course.”

Extradition documents from Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau (NAB) were sent to the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs via the embassy on February 24.

Investigators in Pakistan have accused Mr Sadiq of taking Dh1 billion in kickbacks and commission while he was the head of Pakistan’s Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority between 2009 and 2011.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has expressed frustration at the slow progress of the extradition.

According to the Associated Press of Pakistan senior judges expressed surprise at NAB’s lack of knowledge of extradition law.
Judges also called on Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry to do all it could to push the matter forward.

The charges against Mr Sadiq could also lead to a criminal case against Pakistan’s prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf.

Mr Ashraf was water and power minister during Mr Sadiq’s time as oil and gas regulator. Mr Sadiq fled Pakistan a year ago.

nhanif@thenational.ae