LAHORE: Contrary to its earlier claim to bring former premier Nawaz Sharif back to the country by Jan 15 from London, the PTI government on Wednesday declared that it could give ‘no time frame’ in this regard.
“No date can be given regarding bringing Nawaz Sharif back from the United Kingdom,” Special Assistant to the PM on Accountability and Interior Shahzad Akbar told a presser here on Wednesday.
When asked whether Imran Khan’s government had backtracked from its earlier claim to bring the deposed prime minister back before Jan 15 after finding it difficult because there was no extradition treaty between the two countries, Mr Akbar said: “Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhry had made this claim (of bringing Nawaz back), and not I.”
Stance is contrary to Fawad’s recent claim
Mr Akbar explained that the government had taken up this matter with the British government on ‘deportation and extradition’ grounds. “Once the ‘one-time exemption’ Nawaz secured to his visit visa owing to Covid-19 ends this month, the government will again take up this matter with the authorities there,” he said.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry had recently claimed the government would bring the PML-N Quaid back to the country by Jan 15.
“Nawaz’s position is different from others because he is convicted and declared absconder by court here. The British government will take a quick decision regarding Nawaz’s case on the PTI government’s request,” Chaudhry had said.
After Nawaz Sharif made an explosive speech against the Establishment in the multiparty conference in Islamabad in September last saying that his fight was against those who manipulated the 2018 polls and installed “puppet” Imran Khan on the nation, Prime Minister Khan declared that he would use all his power to bring back this absconder and throw him in jail here with other ordinary prisoners.
Mr Sharif has been in London since November 2019 after the court allowed him to have his treatment abroad for four weeks making extension to his stay conditional to the government’s approval.
In response to Mr Akbar’s presser, PML-N information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb asked Imran Khan government to ‘try its luck’… “Try to bring Nawaz Sharif back by force and witness the results. Shahzad Akbar and company will only embarrass themselves and this corrupt, inept and selected government will further be exposed by any such actions,” she said.
“Mr Sharif will only return after his treatment is complete and without any possibility of any harm to his health according to his doctors’ advice,” she told Dawn.
Mr Sharif’s personal physician Dr Adnan Khan said in a tweet on Wednesday that Mr Sharif had detailed cardiac assessment/evaluation and treatment optimisation. “He is scheduled for further consultations and investigations,” he said.
Answering another question, Shahzad Akbar said (PTI’s disgruntled leader) Jehangir Tareen had not come under some deal. “If anyone considers it a deal, we can offer the same to Nawaz Sharif to return,” he said.
The premier’s adviser spoke about money- laundering charges against PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif, his sons Hamza and Suleman and other family members. He said Shehbaz was hiding behind his ‘backache’ excuses and was not responding specifically about money- laundering charges against him.
He told another questioner that Nawaz was a major hurdle in the way of Shehbaz becoming a prime minister. “However, at present, Shehbaz will have to face this and another six to seven cases,” he added.
Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2020