Saturday September 18, 2021

Pakistani govt unable to execute Nawaz's arrest warrants in London

Sources within the Pakistan High Commission have informed The News that five attempts were made so far to get the arrest warrants signed
October 03, 2020
Former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif addressing a PML-N working committee meeting via video link from London, on October 1, 2020. — YouTube (Hum News Live)

LONDON: The Pakistan High Commission has been unable to get the non-bailable arrest warrants for Nawaz Sharif executed at the Avenfield House nearly a month after the warrants were received here – and the British government has informed Pakistani officials they will not get involved in the matter.

Sources within the Pakistan High Commission have informed The News that five attempts were made so far to get the arrest warrants signed and delivered at the Avenfield flats, but there has been no success as neither Nawaz Sharif nor any member of the Sharif family has signed the official papers.

Sources in the high commission said that its staff members have made visits to the property’s reception but were unable to meet any member of the family.

The latest visit was made on Thursday afternoon by two officials who stayed on Dunraven Street for about ten minutes and left without even approaching the reception.

The former prime minister was speaking to his party’s Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting just about five minutes away, from Hasan Nawaz’s office.

Pakistani diplomats also asked the British government through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to help execute the arrest warrants but the British government plainly refused, informing Pakistan officials that the UK govt will not interfere in the country's internal political matters.

The sources said that the UK has informed the Pakistani officials that getting the arrest warrants executed was not its job and it didn’t have the mandate to enforce warrants.

The options for Pakistan High Commission are limited. It can do nothing beyond using the services of Royal Mail and courier services for the “signed and acknowledged” service or get it’s own staff to get the papers signed.

The recipient of the post, in this case, is Nawaz Sharif and it’s entirely up to him to either voluntarily accept or sign the correspondence or not. His staff and family members can also sign and acknowledge the correspondence on his behalf, but that can be done only in a volunteer capacity and they cannot be forced to sign and acknowledge.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) was informed last week that the former prime minister has “refused” to receive non-bailable arrest warrants at his residence in the United Kingdom.

Nawaz declared proclaimed offender

The PML-N supremo was declared a proclaimed offender earlier this month and has previously also refused to receive the arrest warrants issued in his name and delivered at the Park Lane address.

The federal government has said that it will write another letter to the UK government for the deportation of the former premier, who was allowed to fly to London for medical treatment in November 2019 but was later declared an absconder by some courts in Pakistan.

At the IHC, a two-member bench, while hearing Sharif’s appeal against his conviction in the Al-Azizia case, had asked about the execution of Nawaz Sharif’s arrest warrants.

Additional Attorney General Tariq Khokhar told the court that Rao Abdul Hanan, a representative of the Pakistan High Commission, reached the Avenfield Apartments to deliver the arrest warrants to the former premier, however, the arrest warrants were not received.

“However, the warrants were not received. Every effort was to be made to enforce Nawaz Sharif's warrants," Khokhar added.

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani suggested that a statement is recorded by the Pakistani mission in London to ensure that the" accused can not claim in the future that he was not aware".

"The accused knows that he has defeated the whole system."

Justice Mohsin had further stated that the PML-N supremo left the country and deceived the government and the people of Pakistan. The hearing of the case was adjourned till October 7.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked the relevant authorities to take measures for bringing back the PML-N leader and to ensure that he faces the cases pending in various Pakistani courts.

PM Imran was quoted as saying: “The process of accountability will continue unabated. The opposition leaders are trying to make state institutions controversial just to avoid the corruption cases lodged against them. The government will, however, not get blackmailed.”

Last week, several TV channels claimed that Hasan Nawaz Sharif had signed and received the arrest warrants. The papers showed the sign as “Hassan” but Hasan Nawaz informed Pakistani media that his name carries only one ‘S” and not two. He said he had no idea who had signed and received the papers.