Friday, Pakistan and the United Kingdom (UK) finalized negotiations on the Readmissions Agreement. The agreement will ensure the return of illegal migrants who have no lawful basis to remain in the country.
Advisor to the PM on Interior and Accountability Shahzad Akbar and British Permanent Home Secretary Mathew Rycroft finalized the negotiations on the Pakistan-UK “readmission agreement.”
Important to note, the agreement will enable the sharing of criminal records between the UK and Pakistani authorities. As a result, it will boost law enforcement cooperation between the two countries.
According to reports, Pakistan’s Federal Cabinet will receive the agreement in the coming weeks, for implementation by the end of the year, subject to cabinet approval.
Under the new agreement, people with expired visas, or who overstayed illegally among other crimes, would be repatriated to Pakistan and their details shared.
This is an interesting development as it could potentially impact former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s stay in the UK.
Pak-UK readmission agreement: Will Nawaz Sharif return?
The agreement specifically mentions migrants with a criminal record or those who are illegally overstaying in the UK. Therefore, chances are high that the UK could deport Nawaz Sharif for staying illegally in Britain.
To clarify, back in August, Nawaz Sharif filed for a visa extension after his six-month visit visa expired. However, the authorities rejected his request.
In the UK, a non-UK resident cannot live in the UK for more than six months at a time. Therefore, Nawaz Sharif had been applying for — and receiving — extensions in his stay. The UK authorities denied his latest application for extension filed through a lawyer.
As a result, Nawaz Sharif’s legal team applied for an appeal. Also, Nawaz Sharif’s passport expired in February. Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed confirmed the news. He also said, “Nawaz Sharif is no longer a citizen of Pakistan.”
Had High Court, in its infinite wisdom, not picked up this matter then it would have died its natural death in 24 hours – Rana Shamim's Affidavit apparently has no legal or moral value – Allah knows best! https://t.co/BsoR78FTBH via @YouTube
— Moeed Pirzada (@MoeedNj) November 17, 2021
Charges of corruption against the former Prime Minister
Furthermore, there are charges of corruption and money laundering against Nawaz Sharif. Accountability courts convicted Nawaz Sharif in the Avenfield reference and in the Al Azizia reference. Shortly after, Nawaz Sharif went to the UK on medical grounds.
As a result, the Islamabad High Court dismissed Nawaz’s pleas against the Al Azizia and Avenfield sentences owing to his continued disappearance from the court. However, the judge observed that if Nawaz returns or is caught by the authorities, an application for a renewal of appeals can be filed.
Due to this, the PTI government is adamant about ensuring that Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan and is held accountable.
While the PML-N campaign often maintains that Nawaz Sharif’s stay in the UK is legal, the new development in the readmission agreement certainly gives the PTI government an edge.