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Friday, February 16, 2024

Transparency International demands UK return Nawaz to Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif has been in London for nearly a year after temporary release from prison on medical grounds.

Pakistan has demanded the UK to send ex-PM Nawaz Sharif home to serve his jail sentence for corruption. Nawaz Sharif has been in London for nearly a year after temporary release from prison on medical grounds.

SOS duty bound to deport Sharif

Priti Patel, Secretary of State for the Home Department, is “duty bound” to deport Nawaz Sharif, the former Pakistan prime minister, to serve his jail sentence for corruption, his successor’s government has told the UK home secretary in a letter.

The fallen ruler has been residing in London for nearly a year after being temporarily released from prison in Pakistan and given permission to leave the country for an eight-week trip for medical treatment. Sharif, who did not respond to a request for comment, remains in London, from where he has broadcast attacks on PM Khan’s government.

As per the records submitted to the Pakistani authorities, Sharif has given as his London address the same flat on London’s opulent Park Lane that led to his eventual downfall. His family’s ownership of the flat was exposed by the leak of secret files from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Post Brexit immigration rules

The demand from Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, follows a pledge of tough treatment for foreign criminals under new post-Brexit immigration rules by Ms Patel, a member of the UK’s Conservative government, the report said.

PM Adviser on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar in a letter wrote to Ms Patel on October 5 and said, “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.”

After the Panama Papers revealed hidden assets belonging to Mr Sharif’s family, he resigned as prime minister in 2017. The following year a Pakistan court sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment for corruption. In November 2019 he flew to London after the Pakistan authorities granted him leave to travel abroad for eight weeks to seek treatment for various conditions.

Read More: Nawaz Sharif will go back to jail on return, Fawad Chaudhry

He sought an extension of his temporary release but the Pakistan authorities refused on the grounds that he had offered inadequate medical evidence and ordered Mr Sharif to return home.

The letter to Ms Patel urges her to use her “extensive powers” to deport Mr Sharif, arguing she is “duty bound” to do so. It cites immigration rules that criminals sentenced to four years or more must be refused leave to remain in the UK. A Pakistan court has issued a warrant for Mr Sharif’s arrest, the letter adds.

Transparency International UK calls out Sharif’s unexplained wealth

Transparency International UK is a charity that challenges corruption, strengthens integrity, and fights for a fair society based on the rule of law, as provided by their twitter description.

“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,” said Daniel Bruce, head of Transparency International UK. “The UK government should work constructively with democratic countries such as Pakistan to uphold the rule of law. Action should also be taken to seize and return illicit assets held here in Britain in order to deliver justice for the victims of corruption. Failure to act on cases such as this, earns the UK an unwelcome reputation as a safe haven for dirty money.