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October 22, 2020

Letter sent to UK for Nawaz’s return: Convicted criminal be sent back, says Shehzad

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APP
October 22, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The government is hopeful Nawaz Sharif will be back in Pakistan soon to answer for the corruption charges against him.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability Shahzad Akbar said on Wednesday that the government was working with the British authorities to finalise modalities for Nawaz' return, while Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry hoped that the return would take place by Jan 15.

Speaking to a television news channel, the Chaudhry said decision-makers in the UK were holding discussions in this regard and an announcement was soon, as "the British government is losing its image by giving shelter to the looters and plunders".

Meanwhile, Shahzad Akbar, speaking to Hamid Mir on Geo News programme "Capital Talk" and referring to the date provided by the Chaudhry said, "It will be my aim to bring him back even sooner." He said that it was up to the UK government but quipped: “There is a flight of deportees coming back soon and we would want to save money and have him come on the same flight.” The premier’s adviser said that the government had written to UK home secretary Priti Patel, as had also been reported by Financial Times, and she had been informed Britain was “duty-bound” to deport Nawaz, who had been in London for nearly a year since he was allowed to seek medical treatment there in November 2019.

Nawaz Sharif “has been responsible for pillaging the state and I trust that you will be supportive of our efforts to bring those responsible for corruption to account”, Akbar wrote to Patel on Oct 5. The letter urged Patel to use her “extensive powers” to deport Nawaz, arguing she was “duty-bound” to do so. It cited immigration rules that criminals sentenced to four years or more must be refused leave to remain in the UK.

Akbar said what set Nawaz’s case apart from MQM founder Altaf Hussain — in London and wanted in cases of murder, targeted killings, treason, inciting violence and hate speeches — was that Hussain had been sentenced to death and the UK law prohibited the extradition of such individuals.

About the case of former finance minister Ishaq Dar — also in London and who had been declared an absconder by an accountability court on corruption charges — he said, “Ishaq Dar is not a convict, he is undergoing sentence [...] we have a [Memorandum of Understanding] with the UK authorities and they will implement the decision through the court.”

He said in Nawaz’s case, deportation was sought, not extradition because Nawaz had already been convicted and he violated an agreement with the government.

Akbar said the other two individuals had reportedly sought asylum, so that made the matter different on an additional count. Earlier in the day, during a press conference in Islamabad, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said the government was employing optimum diplomatic channels to ensure Nawaz’s early return from London. He said since there was no extradition treaty with the UK, the government had formally requested the UK authorities through the Pakistani ambassador in London to initiate the repatriation process of Nawaz Sharif.

The minister said the past rulers had deliberately refrained from signing an extradition treaty with certain countries, including the UK, keeping in mind the option to escape in future to those states where they had stashed looted national wealth and built palatial houses. The minister said the past rulers had deliberately refrained from signing an extradition treaty with certain countries, including the UK, keeping in mind the option to escape in future to those states where they had stashed the looted national wealth and built palatial houses.

Referring to the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), Shibli Faraz said with the seating arrangements on stages during the public meetings, the PDM leaders seemed to be pursuing the modus operandi of ‘Banarsi Thugs’, who cheated the people with their opulent looks.

The masses had knowledge about their financial status prior to joining politics as how once bike riders did manage to become owners of land cruisers, he added. Shibli said on the one hand a sinister alliance of opposition had emerged as the PDM just to befool the people with their lies and concocted stories and on the other, Prime Minister Imran Khan was striving hard to mitigate the financial woes being faced by the masses.