Money laundering case: Will UK extradite Shehbaz Sharif’s son-in-law?

Pakistan has reportedly asked the UK to hand Shehbaz’s son-in-law over to it. The authorities have already clarified that no politically motivated extradition is possible. Will Imran Ali be extradited?

Shehbaz Sharif’s son-in-law

The government of Pakistan has reportedly asked the British government to hand over Imran Ali Yousuf, Shehbaz Sharif’s son-in-law, to it. Imran Ali is accused of money laundering. Analysts believe that the UK authorities are unlikely to hand Ali over to Pakistan.

Sources said that the Pakistani officials requested the UK authorities to hand over the suspect on the ‘reciprocal’ basis to the country as the two countries do not have a treaty in place.

The source maintained that the UK government will review the request in due time. It is pertinent to mention here that Daily Mail had leveled corruption allegations against Imran Ali Yousuf, Shehbaz Sharif’s son-in-law,  and Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority’s (ERRA) Ikram Naveed.

Earlier on June 22, sources privy to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had claimed that investigations into former Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his family’s wealth has thus far revealed benami companies worth Rs 2.40 billion.

According to details, the undeclared (benami) wealth was being represented by three different frontmen whose details had been revealed.

Read More: Lahore High Court extends Shehbaz Sharif’s bail till July 23 in corruption case

Sources had claimed that Nisar Ahmed, Syed Tahir Naqvi, and Ali Ahmed were all front men to the massive wealth which originally belongs to the leader of the opposition in the national assembly, Shehbaz Sharif and his family.

UK Will Never Allow Politically Motivated Extradition: British Foreign Secretary

It is worth mentioning here that the British government and Pakistan had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in May 2019 for initiating the process of extraditing former finance minister Ishaq Dar. The MoU was signed after Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar held talks with British Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

However, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt clarified that “no extradition treaty signed by the UK would ever allow for politically motivated extradition”. The foreign secretary’s statement came during a joint press conference held with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in London.

In response to a question, Hunt said: “Let me say it straightforward. No extradition treaty the UK will ever sign allowing for the politically motivated extradition.” Shah Mehmood Qureshi, in response to Hunt’s statement to the media, said: “Pakistan does not want to use extradition for political victimization, that’s not the idea.”

Read More: Inside story: ‘Shehbaz Sharif is establishment’s next blue-eyed man’

Pakistani media quoted Qureshi saying “we feel that extradition is important. And we have also discussed in my meeting with the [British] home secretary that the impediment […] was the issue of capital punishment and we have resolved that by taking a decision that we are going to make amendments in the Pakistan Penal Code to address this issue,” said Qureshi. He said that the extradition treaty will not be misused.

Sharif family is involved in money laundering?

According to a confidential investigation report seen by the Daily Mail, millions of pounds were transferred into the bank accounts of Shehbaz’s family members, including his wife, children and son-in-law. It states to have interviewed key witnesses held on remand in jail, including a UK citizen, Aftab Mehmood, who claims that he had laundered millions on behalf of Shahbaz’s family from a nondescript office in Birmingham – without attracting suspicion from Britain’s financial regulators, who inspected his books regularly.

According to Daily Mail, investigators are convinced that some of the allegedly stolen money came from the Department for International Development (DFID)-funded aid projects. For rehabilitating and rebuilding lives of the poor, the DFID gave £54 million from UK taxpayers; and the legal documents allege that Shehbaz’s son-in-law received about £1 million from that fund.

Read More: Shehbaz Sharif fails to present himself before NAB

As per claims by the Daily Mail, Britain’s National Crime Agency has been working closely with Pakistani investigators and Home Secretary Sajid Javid discussing the possible extradition of members of his family, who have taken refuge in London. It is yet to be seen whether Ali is handed over to Pakistan or not.

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