PM Kakar wants ‘law to take its course’ on Nawaz’s return to Pakistan

Published September 29, 2023
Interim PM Anwaarul Haq Kakar.— Photo courtesy: BBC
Interim PM Anwaarul Haq Kakar.— Photo courtesy: BBC

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar has said he wanted the law “to take its course” when PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan, adding that the interim government has contacted the law ministry to plan for the ex-premier’s arrival.

Earlier this month, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif had announced that his elder brother would return to the country on October 21. Nawaz was convicted in the Al-Azizia Mills and Avenfield corruption cases in 2018. The cases are still sub judice.

He had left the country in November 2019 on medical grounds following his conviction but never returned. He was deemed an absconder the following February. Later in 2020, courts declared him as a proclaimed offender.

On August 10, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif was asked about the possibility of the caretaker government “creating any issues” for Nawaz upon his return, to which he had replied that the elder Sharif would “face the law”. “Nawaz Sharif will, God willing, come to Pakistan and face the law, there are no two opinions on it,” the PML-N president had said in London later the same month.

In an interview with BBC Urdu today, the interim premier said: “We have asked the law ministry as to what should be the caretaker government’s position in terms of administrative measure [on Nawaz’s return] … as soon as I reach the country, we will call a meeting in that regard.”

PM Kakar further stated that the decision regarding the arrest of the former prime minister would be taken by the courts as the judiciary had provided relief to the PML-N supremo and enabled him to leave the country.

“A convicted person was allowed by the courts to leave, not by the executive. This is a question for the courts, not for the executive,” he said.

Speaking about PTI Chairman Imran Khan release, the interim premier stated that if Imran’s “judicial remedy” did not work for him and if he was not able to get relief from the courts then he would have to face the consequences.

“I mean that whatever opportunities he [Imran] has in the judicial system, if even after using those opportunities he is not allowed to contest elections according to the law, then it would be outside our mandate to provide him relief,” Kakar said.

He went on to say that “no harshness” would be adopted towards the PTI but at the same time maintained that “the people who were involved in the activities against the state would be dealt with according to the law”.

“And these are specific people, who amount to 1,500 or 2,000 in the population of 250 million people … linking them with the PTI is not a fair analysis,” he added.

In response to a question regarding the political crisis in the country and whether it could escalate if certain political leaders were not allowed to contest in the run-up polls, the interim premier stated: “We cannot be speculative as to what would be the outcome as this is beyond our mandate.

“As far as my government is concerned, our goal is not to stop the crisis or to birth it, our role is to go into the elections according to the law and if the decision of the election creates another crisis then it is a question for the society and the state, it is not for the caretaker government.”

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