UK approached for extradition of Nawaz: PM aide

Updated 23 Aug 2020


“[Nawaz's] stroll on London roads is a slap in the face of the judiciary and the government cannot allow this. — AFP/File
“[Nawaz's] stroll on London roads is a slap in the face of the judiciary and the government cannot allow this. — AFP/File

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Declaring former prime minister Nawaz Sharif an “absconder”, Adviser to the Prime Minster on Accountability and Interior Shahzad Akbar has said that Mr Sharif’s four-week bail on medical grounds expired in December last year and the government had already approached the UK government for his extradition.

“The government is treating him (Sharif) as an absconder and has already sent a request to the British government to extradite him,” Mr Akbar said while addressing a press conference in Lahore on Saturday.

“His stroll on London roads is a slap in the face of the judiciary and the government cannot allow this. There is nothing personal in it: we are only trying to implement the law and fulfil its requirements,” the adviser maintained.

Mr Akbar said that the government would request the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to pursue Mr Sharif’s extradition as well and it was also looking into legalities of guarantees of Shahbaz Sharif, who was supposed to escort his elder brother back to Pakistan after his medical treatment.

Special Assistant to the PM Shahbaz Gill and Punjab Minister for Information Fayyazul Hassan Chohan were present at the news conference.

Shahzad Akbar says ex-premier submitted fake lab reports

The adviser said that on Oct 29 last year the court granted Mr Sharif eight-week bail for treatment within Pakistan and on Nov 16, he got a four-week permission to travel abroad for treatment. According to Mr Akbar, the former prime minister was supposed to keep the court and the Punjab government updated about his treatment by sharing the details of the process of his treatment and test reports which he didn’t do.

He said that Mr Sharif applied to the Punjab government for bail extension on Feb 19.

A medical board was constituted which sought details of medical procedures being done and test reports of Mr Sharif, but nothing was shared.

He said that the law ministry, NAB and the prison department were informed about the bail expiry and rejection of its extension when the medical board got nothing as evidence document.

He said the UK government was also informed about the development on March 2 with a request for Mr Sharif’s extradition.

Commenting on recent pictures of Mr Sharif, Mr Akbar said that the former premier looked perfectly fine in the pictures being shared by his sons.

As far as “NRO plus plus”, a term coined by the government to describe the opposition’s demand in negotiations with it on some legal issues, was concerned, “Imran Khan would not yield even N of the NRO plus plus”, he insisted.

Mr Akbar said the opposition had a desire that money laundering should be taken out of NAB’s purview. On the other hand, he said, the world took money laundering as a very serious crime and so did the PTI.

He said it was because of money laundering that Pakistan was put on the grey list of the FATF. He said that the opposition needed to understand the seriousness of the crime and the world’s concerns on it.

Not to be left behind, Shahbaz Gill chimed in with allegation of “rigging of medical tests” by Nawaz Sharif.” He claimed that if the quantity of ETDA — a chemical that functions by binding calcium in the blood and prevents blood clotting — was increased during sample collection, platelets count could be manipulated.

“This is precisely what the Sharif family did. It was allowed to take and submit blood samples of Nawaz Sharif and manipulated the samples,” he alleged.

Mr Chohan criticised Maryam Nawaz and her “brand of politics” and said that she had only damaged herself by bringing workers carrying stones to attack NAB offices.

Talking to media persons after attending a journalists’ training workshop in Islamabad, federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said Nawaz Sharif was roaming in the streets of London and enjoying coffee. He said that submission of fake medical reports amounted to committing fraud.

The minister said that the Punjab government would investigate Mr Sharifs medical reports to expose the people who had “rigged” them.

“I had said earlier also that Nawaz Sharif is not sick and should not be given any relaxation. Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz have the same problem. They just want all cases against them to be shut down,” he added.

The minister alleged that Pakistan was placed in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s grey list due to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), alleging that the opposition parties created hurdles when the government was striving to remove the country from the grey list.

He said that PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari together could not gather enough people to fill a marriage hall. He also criticised Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

Earlier, Mr Chaudhry said in a tweet that Nawaz Sharif’s departure to London had damaged the PTI narrative and the process of accountability. He said that those involved in preparing fake medical reports of Mr Sharif should be given exemplary punishment.

Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2020