Will talk to Boris Johnson to get Nawaz deported from UK if I have to: PM Imran

Updated 24 Oct 2020

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Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during an interview on ARY News. — Screengrab: ARY News
Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during an interview on ARY News. — Screengrab: ARY News

Prime Minister Imran Khan says his government is in regular contact with the British government to get PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif deported from the UK, and he will even talk to Prime Minister Boris Johnson if it comes to that.

In a wide-ranging interview on ARY News broadcast on Friday, the premier said since getting Nawaz extradited from Britain would be a "long process", his government was pushing for him to be deported "which can happen immediately".

"We are in regular contact with their officials. We are making full efforts to get him deported," he told journalist Sabir Shakir.

Imran said Nawaz had "lied" about his illness and did not undergo any treatment after being allowed to go to the UK.

"If I have to, I will go and talk to Boris Johnson," he added while answering a question.

Prime Minister Imran and UK premier Johnson have enjoyed a friendly relationship since before they were elected into office.

Once again regretting his decision to allow the PML-N leader to travel abroad, Imran said: "I should have known that he has lied throughout his life."

He said the judiciary had "unfortunately" always supported Nawaz in his wrongdoings to the country, saying the government had placed the condition of a Rs7 billion surety bond in order to allow Nawaz to go abroad, but the Lahore High Court had rejected it and instead accepted Shehbaz Sharif's guarantee.

Earlier this month, the PTI-led government had requested the UK government for a third time to send back Nawaz to serve out his sentence in a Pakistani prison, with the letter this time handed over personally to the British high commissioner in Islamabad, Dawn reported.

The letter was handed over to the British diplomat some three weeks after Nawaz made a fiery speech at the opposition’s multiparty conference (MPC) through video link from London in which he criticised the military establishment over its alleged role in politics.

Through the letter, the Pakistan government asked the British authorities to consider cancelling Nawaz visit visa, which has allowed him to live in London on medical grounds since November.

Sindh IG's abduction 'a joke'

Prime Minister Imran laughed sarcastically when asked about the Sindh police chief's alleged "abduction" ahead of PML-N leader Mohammad Safdar's arrest in Karachi earlier this week.

"I find this comedic; it looks like a joke is taking place," he said, adding that the opposition was supported by "all of Pakistan's enemies".

He said the opposition was collaborating with the Indian and Israeli lobbies in the United States, whose representative he claimed was former Pakistani ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani.

The prime minister said in India, news was being run about a "civil war" taking place in Karachi after Safdar's arrest, while "this rat Nawaz Sharif was being exalted as a hero of democracy".

He accused Nawaz of creating differences within the army and judiciary. "What could be more disgraceful than [for Nawaz] to say, 'I am against [COAS] Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and [ISI chief] Lt Gen Faiz Hameed but support the rest of the army'?" he asked.

'COAS shouldn't have met opposition'

Imran said he would not let the opposition come into power whether he was in the office or not.

"I was telling my party from day one that there is no use of talking to them (opposition) because we don't plan on giving them an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordina­nce-like concession)," he added.

He later said the government was ready to talk with the opposition on every issue "except giving them NRO".

The premier said he was ready for any move by the opposition, including street agitation, resigning en masse from the assemblies and even early elections.

"If an election takes place, I will be happy because I will be re-elected with a clear majority."

Responding to a question, the premier said Army Chief Gen Bajwa kept him in the loop whenever opposition leaders came to meet the military leadership.

"But today I think it was a mistake. He shouldn't have met them. They are now abusing the army so what was the benefit?" he said, adding that whoever met the army chief was "seeking NRO".

'Sindh govt gave permission for island project'

Detailing the government's controversial plan to develop the Bundal Island near Karachi's coast and the Ravi City project in Lahore, Prime Minister Imran said the two initiatives would create jobs and result in wealth creation.

He said the Sindh government itself had given permission to the Centre to develop Bundal Island "even though we didn't need any permission". Most of the benefits and profits from the project will go to Sindh, he added.

"We think the project will attract at least $40 billion in foreign exchange ... which will benefit the entire country," the premier said.

He disclosed that the Ravi City and Bundal Island projects will be "modern, green" cities where international best practices will be employed to protect the environment.