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IHC orders authorities to release international drug dealer Koko

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) hass ordered the release of Myanmar drug baron Ibrahim Koko who was still in Adyala Jail despite completing his sentence. Koko remained incarcerated in Pakistan as Myanmar had been unwilling to take him back. Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani of the IHC heard the case. Koko appeared before the court for the first time and requested to go back to Myanmar. Justice Akhtar remarked that the court would write an order so that Koko Ibrahim does not face any problem while landing at the airport of his home country.

The court released Koko after the fulfillment of local surety, as well as, some other conditions and ordered that he be sent back to his country by September 16. The court also directed the authorities concerned for vaccination and preparation of travelling documents. It adjourned the hearing of the case until September 16.

The History of the Case

Ibrahim Koko had been awarded a 13-year jail sentence by a court. In 2015, he was brought to Pakistan on a fake Pakistani passport. Koko, a Myanmar national, was issued a passport by the country’s foreign affairs ministry in Thailand on the basis of a fake domicile issued from Khushab, Pakistan. Later, he was brought to Pakistan even though the Interior Ministry had refused to accept him under the agreement on exchange of criminals. In 2016 Special Judge Central in Islamabad convicted Koko under Sections 468 and 471 of the Pakistan Penal Code, pertaining to forgery for purpose of cheating and use of forged document as genuine of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 14 of the Foreigners Act. The drug dealer’s two facilitators, who helped him to get fake Pakistani documents, Naveed Shahzad and Tanvir Hussain, were sentenced to 11-year imprisonments each.


Koko was born in Yangon, Myanmar, on November 14, 1972. At the age of 17 he was taken to Singapore by his uncle using fake documents. He was arrested in 1993 for fake identity and deported to Myanmar. He later moved to Thailand where he was convicted on drug-related charges. He was brought to Pakistan in 2015 after a fraudulent exercise showing him to be Pakistani national, but was ultimately caught by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). During the FIA’s investigation, it was revealed that more than 40 drug traffickers had been illegally brought to Pakistan from Sri Lanka and Thailand. One of them had undertaken 19 foreign visits after arriving in country, while the others travelled abroad more than once. Only three of them were in jail, while most of them were abroad. All of them were brought to Pakistan under an agreement regarding the exchange of offenders. Under the accord, Pakistani nationals complete a part of their sentence in the country where they are convicted and then are brought to Pakistan to complete the remaining term.

According to the FIA challan, which was submitted at the Islamabad Central Court in 2018, Koko had been illegally transferred to Pakistan by former Ambassador to Thailand Sohail Khan and former Deputy Head of Mission Ataul Munim Shahid. The FIA investigation further states that the transfer violated the Pakistan-Thailand agreement on transfer of offenders. An investigation into the matter was ordered by former Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

The Thailand ministry of foreign affairs was provided with a letter of consent by Sohail Khan, stating that Koko held a Pakistani nationality even though he had a Burmese passport. A woman named Maryam bibi had earlier submitted her documents showing she was the mother of Ibrahim Koko but failed to provide the required attestation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad. It was this request that Sohail Khan considered in violation of the due requirements. The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) had also said that Koko’s Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) was fake and an investigation was necessary over the matter. Despite this, NADRA’s position on the matter was ignored.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also failed to produce relevant records despite the FIA’s request.

The FIA report explains that Thailand’s laws for drug related offences are more severe than ones in Pakistan and that Section 9 of the Transfer of Offenders Ordinance, 2004 states that convicts will receive punishments in accordance with the laws of the receiving state. Koko was transferred to Pakistan on March 7, 2015 despite a notification by the Interior Ministry that such a move was unfeasible. He was then sent to Adiala jail. Meanwhile, Sohail Khan was given the charge of the Pakistani Mission in South Africa and Ataul Munim Shahid was appointed as the Director General of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad at that time.


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