ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani court has temporarily barred the extradition of a U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin accused of planning a terror attack in New York with help from the Islamic State group, a defense lawyer said Wednesday.
No information has emerged so far about the plot involving Talha Haroon, who was detained in Pakistan last September, or about the assistance he allegedly got from the country’s Islamic State affiliate. The request for Haroon’s extradition was made sometime after his arrest and approved by a district magistrate in January.
Haroon’s father meanwhile sought a stay order, which was granted on Monday by the Islamabad High Court. On Wednesday, the court asked for a response from the Interior Ministry for the next hearing, due April 11, as it deliberates his extradition, Haroon’s lawyer Tariq Asad told The Associated Press.
Asad said his client’s father, Haroon Rashid, told the court that his son is innocent and that his life would be in danger if he is extradited to the United States where President Donald Trump has “biased and prejudiced policy against the Muslims.”
Pakistani authorities insist that the Islamic State group has no organized network in the country — despite the group having claimed responsibility for several large-scale attacks that have killed scores of Pakistanis in recent years.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Pakistani security forces have turned over several top al-Qaida leaders to the U.S. authorities following their arrests in various parts of the country. Among those handed over to the United States are former al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden’s deputies Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Ramzi Binalshibh and Abu Zubaydah.
Bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Abbottabad during a May 2011 raid.