• Says PML-N supremo to face legal obstacles, caretaker govt has no soft corner for any party
• Kakar to visit China next week to attend Belt and Road Initiative celebrations
• Kashmir dispute root cause of tensions in South Asia, PM tells OIC envoy
ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Thursday quashed rumours of a potential deal for the homecoming of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, stressing that the former premier would have to face legal challenges after his return to Pakistan.
“The caretaker government has no soft corner for PML-N or any other political party,” Mr Kakar said in an interview with World Echo News. “How can a caretaker government strike such a deal?”
He said Mr Sharif had left the country according to a court decision “under the nose of Imran Khan’s government, and not a caretaker set-up”.
However, he stressed that if Mr Sharif returned and took part in politics, he would have to face some legal obstacles. “The answers to these legal questions lie in legal remedies,” he said.
Mr Kakar said that every leader, be it Imran Khan, Asif Ali Zardari or Nawaz Sharif, would have to seek legal remedy according to their circumstances.
Nawaz Sharif, who has been in self-imposed exile since 2019, left for London in the middle of his seven-year jail term on medical grounds. In the four years since, he was declared a proclaimed offender in the Al Azizia and Avenfield graft cases for his continuous absence from proceedings.
Last month, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif confirmed that his elder brother was returning to the country on Oct 21. Subsequently, the PML-N declared that Nawaz Sharif was ready to face “all kinds of circumstances” upon his return from London.
PM to visit China
Meanwhile, at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Kakar will visit China to participate in the ‘Third Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation’, to be held in Beijing from Oct 17-18.
According to the Foreign Office, Mr Kakar will attend the opening ceremony of the BRF and address the high-level forum entitled ‘Connectivity in an Open Global Economy’ to be held on Oct 18. He will hold bilateral meetings with President Xi, senior Chinese officials and several leaders attending the forum.
During his stay in China, the prime minister will also meet with leading Chinese entrepreneurs to expand bilateral trade and investment.
In a separate meeting on Thursday with Pakistan’s former ambassador to Bahrain, Javed Malik, Mr Kakar directed the Board of Investment to chalk out an effective strategy for joint cooperation on investment with Pakistanis living abroad.
Investment strategy, shipyards
The caretaker premier also presided over a meeting of the policy board on the development of shipbuilding in Pakistan and urged the establishment of more shipyards in the country.
He was informed that ship manufacturing yards could be set up in various coastal areas of Balochistan, including Surbandar, Kappar and Pashu Khan. He also directed the authorities concerned to control illegal trawling in the coastal areas.
Later, the special envoy of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) secretary general for Jammu and Kashmir, Yousef M. Al Dobeay, called on Prime Minister Kakar.
Stressing that the Kashmir dispute was the root cause of tensions in South Asia, the premier said: “Peace in the region would remain elusive till its resolution. Pakistan was committed to a just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions.”
Highlighting the tremendous sacrifices of the people of India-held Kashmir to realise their inalienable right to self-determination, the prime minister said that the Kashmiris have always looked towards the OIC and the Ummah for support.
Ambassador Yousef M. Al Dobeay assured Mr Kakar of OIC’s principled position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. He said the OIC was fully committed to the Kashmir cause and his visit to Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir was an expression of that commitment.
Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2023