News Desk |
Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, the special assistant to prime minister on information and broadcasting, dared the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s stalwarts Shahbaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar to return to Pakistan and stand trial in corruption cases so that the truth could be differentiated from lies.
In a tweet, the PM’s special assistant on information challenged the PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif to come back to Pakistan along with the former finance minister Ishaq Dar, who has been declared an absconder in a corruption reference by an accountability court after he repeatedly failed to join the trial.
شہباز شریف صاحب "چیمبر" آپ کا خالی ہے اور آپ کی یہاں تلاش جاری ہے۔جو میدان چھوڑ کر بھاگ گئے ہیں وہ دوسروں کو دروغ گوئی کا کیا درس دے رہے ہیں؟ شہباز صاحب اسحاق ڈارکے ساتھ واپس آئیں تاکہ سچ جھوٹ کا پتہ چلے۔
— Firdous Ashiq Awan (@Dr_FirdousPTI) May 26, 2019
“Your “chamber” is empty Shahbaz Sharif and you are being searched here,” she said. “How can those who ran away from the battlefield lecture others on telling a lie,” the tweet read, adding the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif along with Dar should come back and face the truth. Apparently, she responded to Shehbaz and Dar’s press conference held in London.
Shahbaz is in London, the anti-graft body has stated in the petition that “Shahbaz may have absconded the nation” and that the accountability watchdog’s proceedings may come to a halt due to the suspect’s unavailability.
On May 26, Shahbaz while addressing the press conference along with Dar had said that all opposition parties would meet after Eid for consultations. It was unfortunate that the prime minister was deceiving the public by telling them lies continuously, he said, adding the PML-N added 11,000MW of electricity to the national grid in its tenure despite facing difficulties. At the moment, the PML-N leaders said the masses were under a heavy burden of inflation and unemployment.
Both the PML-N leaders are in London. Dar, as an absconder while Shahbaz has reportedly been undergoing medical treatment.
“Shahbaz may have Absconded the Nation”, NAB tells SC
On May 24, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) moved the Supreme Court against a judgment of the Lahore High Court (LHC) which ordered the authorities concerned to remove Shahbaz’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL).
In the appeal, the bureau has challenged the LHC’s judgment on the ground that the ruling doesn’t state which of PML-N president’s rights were violated by being present on the ECL.
Since Shahbaz is in London, the anti-graft body has stated in the petition that “Shahbaz may have absconded the nation” and that the accountability watchdog’s proceedings may come to a halt due to the suspect’s unavailability. NAB has alleged that Shahbaz was trying to ‘influence’ the probe.
NAB has prayed the top court to set aside the LHC’s judgment and reinstate the opposition leader’s name on the no-fly list. In addition, the bureau added, a co-accused Salman Shahbaz had already fled the nation. Later in the day, it was reported that SC’s registrar office had raised several objections over the appeal and returned the appeal to NAB to clear the objections before submitting it in the court.
Is Shahbaz not Coming Back?
Earlier this month, PML-N’s move to nominate Rana Tanveer as Public Accounts Committee chairman and Khawaja Asif as parliamentary leader had triggered the debate if the opposition leader in NA would return from London or not.
Pakistan and the British government have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the formal beginning of the process for the extradition of Dar to Pakistan.
The PML-N had nominated Rana Tanveer as Shehbaz’s replacement as Public Accounts Committee chairman and Khawaja Asif as parliamentary leader. Asif was nominated parliamentary leader by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The ex-PM had said that Khawaja Asif was made parliamentary leader on the request of Shahbaz.
Meanwhile, Abbasi had recently said that Shahbaz was receiving treatment in London and he was expected to return to Pakistan before the budget session. It was reported that Shahbaz felt that it was not right to continue with the chairmanship under the current circumstances.
The reports further said that he took the decision after consulting with his elder brother Nawaz Sharif, adding that Shahbaz had not wanted to become PAC chairman and had only assumed the post after the insistence of the opposition and parliamentary advisory group.
Read more: Is Shahbaz Sharif not coming back?
While quoting sources, it was speculated in the first week of May that PML-N was also holding discussions on appointing Abbasi as the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly. However, the reports had said, a decision would be taken when Shahbaz returns to the country with the consultation of the PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif.
Last year, Sharif was elected chairman of the parliamentary watchdog unopposed after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government conceded the chairmanship to the PML-N leader. Meanwhile, PML-N leader Khawaja Asif had said party president would return to Pakistan to attend the National Assembly’s budget session.
Pakistan, UK Sign MoU for Dar’s Extradition
Pakistan and the British government have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the formal beginning of the process for the extradition of Dar to Pakistan. The MoU, which is case specific to Dar, would provide legal cover in the absence of an extradition treaty between the two countries.
The MoU means the “surrender to the government of Pakistan of Ishaq Dar for the purpose of prosecution there for one or more offenses and for the purpose of serving a sentence of imprisonment”.
It was reported that the MoU was signed after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Adviser on Accountability Shahzad Akbar held talks with British Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) May 23, 2019
Productive two days meetings in London with UK Home Secretary @sajidjavid & FCO MoS @MarkFieldUK. UK signs first ever MoU for extradition to Pakistan, setting legal basis for extradition of Ishaq Dar in absence of a treaty. pic.twitter.com/gPM8WRA6pz
— Mirza Shahzad Akbar (@ShazadAkbar) May 27, 2019
In a tweet on May 23, the home secretary said: “Pleasure to meet with @ShazadAkbar again this morning to discuss progress on UK-Pakistan efforts to tackle corruption.” The News reported that the
MoU states that the government of Pakistan and the British government have developed an understanding “for the extradition of Ishaq Dar to the jurisdiction of the government of Pakistan”.
Read more: Has Sharif family abandoned Ishaq Dar?
Meanwhile, High Commissioner for Pakistan to the United Kingdom Mohammad Nafees Zakaria discussed matters related to the government’s accountability drive against corruption & UK’s cooperation with Akbar.
SAPM on Accountability Mr Shahzad Akbar & I had a substantive meeting. Discussed matters related to Govt’s Accountability drive against corruption & UK’s cooperation. I briefed him on bilateral relations, efforts to take investment to Pakistan & Diaspora matters.@ShazadAkbar pic.twitter.com/3Nrj8Jb3Wb
— Mohammad Nafees Zakaria (@ZakariaNafees) May 25, 2019
The MoU means the “surrender to the government of Pakistan of Ishaq Dar for the purpose of prosecution there for one or more offenses and for the purpose of serving a sentence of imprisonment”. The new Justice and Accountability focal person for Pakistan on behalf of Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Graeme Biggar, and Akbar signed the MoU.
Read more: Govt. has a plan to arrest Ishaq Dar soon
The paper further reported the MoU provides “more effective cooperation in combating crime”. It goes on that the MoU is “mindful of the guarantee under the respective legal system which produces an accused person right to fair trial including the right to adjudication by an impartial tribunal established pursuant to law”.