Nawaz Shari. Photo: Reuters
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan
has asked relevant authorities to take steps to bring back PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif
from London and to ensure that he faces the corruption cases pending against him in the courts, according to a media report on Wednesday.
The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the Dawn News reported, quoting a Cabinet member whose identity was not revealed.
Khan asked the authorities to pursue the matter vigorously, the paper said.
According to the Cabinet member, the government had earlier sent a request to the British government for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader's repatriation. However, it would again send a fresh application now.
Besides a normal application, a formal request for his extradition would also be made. “Although we have no extradition treaty with the United Kingdom, wanted people can be repatriated under special arrangements as we had also handed over some people to the UK,” the member said.
On Wednesday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) said that it needs to be determined if 70-year-old Sharif was evading court proceedings on purpose.
Sharif's exit from Pakistan is a "mockery of the system", said a two-member IHC bench, comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Aamer Farooq.
The federal government told the court that the non-bailable arrest warrants issued for Sharif earlier this month were not received at his residence in London.
Additional Attorney General (AAG) Tariq Khokhar said that the arrest warrants were sent to Sharif's residence through Royal Mail Special Delivery but a person named Waqar Ahmed refused to receive the delivery.
"He (Sharif) must be sitting there laughing at Pakistan's system. It's a shame," said Justice Kayani.
The hearing of the case was adjourned till October 7.
On September 15, the Islamabad High Court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Sharif who failed to surrender before it despite clear warning by the bench. The court said the onus was on the federal government to bring back Sharif from London to stand a trial in Pakistan.
The PML-N had said it honoured the court decision, but the party supremo would return once his health permitted him.
Meanwhile, Sharif virtually addressed a meeting of his party's Central Executive Committee, saying that he has been informed that "someone else" was running the parliament, in lieu of its members.
"People tell me that someone else is running the parliament. Other people come and give directions about the day's agenda and voting on bills etc," he said, in an apparent reference to the powerful army.
"We have broken free of the colonisers only to be enslaved by our own. Today, we are not free citizens," Sharif said, adding that he refuses to live in his own country like a slave.
Sharif asked Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa as to why the Army wanted to act against him (Sharif) and if this was the case then what about its (army) stance that it does not intervene in politics.
“I refuse to live in my own country like a slave and will make sure that I live with dignity and fight for civilian supremacy," he said.
“Instead of arresting the proven corrupt retired Lt-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, my younger brother Shahbaz Sharif has been arrested. Nobody inquired as to how did Asim Bajwa make billions of rupees during his service,” he said.
He said there is no precedence in the history of Pakistan like the way children of PML-N leaders have been treated by this "selected" government.
“The PML-N will struggle harder and overcome every difficulty to rescue the nation. The time isn't far when those responsible for all this and the deplorable condition of the people of Pakistan will be held accountable and answerable," he said.
His daughter and PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz earlier said that political decisions should be made in the parliament, not at the General Headquarters.
In another video shared by Maryam, Sharif said that a colonel could be seen hiding his face during the hearing of a case against him by the National Accountability Bureau.
"What was the reason behind hiding his face? You were being insincere that's why you hid your face," he said.
The powerful Army, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 70 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.
The three-time premier, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar were convicted in the Avenfield properties case on July 6, 2018.
Sharif was also sentenced to seven years in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case in December 2018. But Sharif was bailed out in both cases and also allowed to go to London for medical treatment in November last year.
In May, a picture of Sharif having tea at a London cafe along with his family went viral on social media, sparking a debate on the seriousness of his health condition.
The government came under further criticism when last month Sharif's photos surfaced online, showing him strolling in a street, prompting calls from within the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to bring him back.