Pakistan has refused to accept an extradition flight from the UK. The refusal comes as a deepening diplomatic row between the two countries over ex-Prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan.
The plane chartering had cost £300,000 to the UK, taking around 40 deportees from London to Islamabad.
The ex-Prime Minister has stayed in London for a year now. He had left Pakistan on a two-week bail to receive medical treatment in London.
Since then, the Sun has reported that a diplomatic row has arisen between the two countries culminating in Pakistan’s refusal to accept an extradition flight from the UK.
According to the Sun, officially, Pakistan has said that the two matters do not have anything to do with each other. Still, some officials have admitted to the news source that the UK is not deporting Nawaz Sharif back to Pakistan.
Pakistan has repeatedly reminded the UK that Nawaz Sharif’s stay in London is against the UK’s own laws.
Nawaz Sharif enjoying pizza in London pic.twitter.com/QCbVSUJCL7
— Trends Pakistan (@TrendsPaak) December 15, 2020
The UK’s Secretary of State Priti Patel said that the UK was bound by international law but said further that, “Should the UK receive an extradition treaty request, we would, of course, give it our full attention under the provision of UK law.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s adviser, Mirza Shahzad Akbar, had previously written to Priti Patel on October 5 that Mr. Sharif “has been responsible for pillaging the state and I trust that you will be supportive of our efforts to bring those responsible for corruption to account.”
Nawaz Sharif in London on a ‘visit visa.’
Nawaz Sharif had flown to London last year after the Pakistani authorities had granted him leave to travel abroad for eight weeks to seek treatment for various conditions. He sought an extension of his temporary release. Still, the Pakistani authorities had refused because he had offered inadequate medical evidence – and ordered Nawaz Sharif to return home.
Since then, Nawaz Sharif has remained in London on a ‘visit visa’ from where he has stepped up broadcast attacks on Imran Khan’s government.
The Sun reports having seen videos and photos of Nawaz Sharif walking to and from his luxury mansion near Hyde Park in central London in recent months. Critics claim he has not spent a night in the hospital during his stay here.
A source told The Sun: “Pakistan sent a warning that it need not accept illegal immigrants from London if Britain will not return its former PM, who many believe is staying in the UK illegally.”
Back in May, one of the many leaked pictures of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif at a roadside cafe in London sparked a debate about his health. The claims about his ill-health are running into scrutiny.
In the picture, Sharif was seen sitting at a roadside eatery with his granddaughters. He is seen sporting a blue shalwar kameez and a cap.
As the picture went viral on social media, it had then sparked a debate about the former premier’s health, with his detractors asking why he does not return to Pakistan if he is well and roaming on London streets.
Transparency International: convicts should not enjoy impunity in Britain
Nawaz Sharif’s family’s ownership of properties in London had been exposed by the leak of secret files from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca.
Islamabad High Court has declared Nawaz Sharif as a ‘proclaimed offender’ due to his absence from court hearings against him.
Pakistan has also cited Britain’s own immigration laws of 1974. Any person sentenced to imprisonment of more than four years had to be deported to the country of his/her origin.
Critics say Nawaz Sharif is “illegally staying in London and provoking civil unrest in Pakistan.” They add his stay is “strengthening the impression of London as being a haven of laundered money accumulated through corruption and a sanctuary of corrupt politicians hailing from across the globe.”
Daniel Bruce, Chief Executive of Transparency International UK, told The Sun: “Foreign politicians with convictions relating to corruption should not enjoy impunity in Britain.
“Nor should their unexplained wealth, stashed in luxury London properties, fall out of the reach of law enforcement.
“Progress towards a formal extradition process is welcome to uphold the rule of law in partnership with other countries.
“Action should also be taken to seize and return any illicit assets held here in Britain to deliver justice for the victims of corruption.”
The deportation flight is expected to finally take off from London to Pakistan over the next few days. Last night Home Office sources said the government does not confirm if extradition requests have been made or received until an arrest has been made in connection to it.
GVS News Desk