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Pakistan

August 26, 2018
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PM’s assistant claims ‘useful meetings’ in London on accountability

LONDON: Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Special Assistant on Accountability and Minister of State Shazad Akbar has claimed that he spent three days of “useful meetings” in London on the issues of accountability but Pakistan High Commission has said that it was not aware that the minister was in London.

Mirza Shahzad Akbar, who was appointed last week as the Special Assistant to the PM on accountability and sat in the first cabinet meeting with the PM, announced on a social media site that he was in London in relation to the “repatriation of unlawful assets to Pakistan”.

He wrote: “Headed back to Pakistan from London after 3 days of useful meetings in our efforts to implement PM Imran Khan’s promise for the accountability of the corrupt & repatriation of unlawful assets to Pakistan.”

Shahzad Akbabr didn’t respond to questions about his meetings in London but a spokesman of Pakistan High Commission said that the high commission was not aware that the Minister of State was in London and that it had no involvement in setting up any meetings. Official meetings are arranged and coordinated by Pakistan High Commission and its not clear whether the PM’s Assistant on Accountability arranged these meetings directly or met legal firms to seek opinions. Meeting with the government officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Home Office would not have been possible without the official involvement either from the Foreign Office in Pakistan or Pakistan High Commission in London.

Shahzad Akbar had commented soon after his appointment that this is “a big first step for beginning of Naya and transparent Pakistan”.

Lawyer and legal adviser Mirza Shahzad Akbar has worked as a deputy prosecutor for the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). He is also the founder, legal director and a trustee of the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, an organisation that claims to be working towards “the advancement, protection and enforcement of fundamental human rights".

PTI says that Akbar's appointment is in line with the new government's promise to strengthen the check and balance system in the country.

In February 2014, Akbar had toured London and Brussels with Kareem Khan, who lost his son and brother to a 2009 CIA drone strike, to discuss the impact of the US’ secret bombing campaign inside Pakistani territories and its impact on civilian populations.

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