Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked the relevant authorities to take steps to bring PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif back from London and ensure he faces the corruption cases pending against him in court, according to a media report on Wednesday.
The decision was made at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Dawn News reported, quoting a cabinet member whose identity was not disclosed.
Mr. Khan urged the authorities to vigorously pursue the matter, the paper says.
According to the cabinet member, the government had previously made a request to the UK government to repatriate the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). However, it would now send a new application again.
In addition to a normal request, a formal request for extradition would also be made. “Although we do not have an extradition treaty with the UK, wanted people can be returned under special conditions as we also handed over some people to the UK,” said the member.
On Wednesday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) said it needs to determine whether the 70-year-old Sharif is deliberately evading a lawsuit.
Nawaz Sharif’s exit from Pakistan is “a mockery of the system,” said a two-member IHC bank made up of Judge Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Judge Aamer Farooq.
The federal government told the court that the arrest warrants issued against Nawaz Sharif earlier this month had not been received at his London residence.
Additional Attorney General (AAG) Tariq Khokhar said the arrest warrants were sent to Nawaz Sharif’s residence via Royal Mail Special Delivery, but a person named Waqar Ahmed refused to receive the delivery.
“He (Sharif) has to sit and laugh at Pakistan’s system. It’s a shame,” said Justice Kayani.
The hearing on the case was adjourned until October 7th.
On September 15, the Islamabad High Court issued arrest warrants against Nawaz Sharif, who did not surrender despite clear warnings from the bank. The court said it was the federal government’s duty to bring Sharif back from London to pass a trial in Pakistan.
The PML-N had said they would honor the court ruling, but the party leader would return as soon as his health permitted him.
Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar were convicted in the Avenfield Properties case on July 6, 2018.
Nawaz Sharif was sentenced to seven years in prison in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case in December 2018. In both cases, however, he was rescued and was allowed to go to London for medical treatment last November.
In May, a picture of Nawaz Sharif having tea with his family in a London cafe went viral on social media, sparking a debate about the severity of his health.
The government was further criticized when photos of Nawaz Sharif surfaced online last month, walking on a street and making calls from ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to bring him back.