Britain asked to extradite Nawaz

By Ali Imran

ISLAMABAD: The foreign ministry has written a letter to the British government seeking the deportation of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who is currently in London for medical treatment.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said: “Yes, we have [written a letter].”
However, when asked to reveal the contents of the letter, Qureshi said: “We will tell you the details later.”
Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the letter was written by the foreign ministry.
“The letter was a necessary step for bringing him [Nawaz] back to the country,” she said, adding that the uproar over the letter from London showed that the PML-N supremo had intended to remain abroad for an extended period of time.
“It has been 105 days since Nawaz left the country. During this time, he has not sent any reports regarding an improvement in his health, nor has he been admitted to any hospital. This means that you have misused the facility [that was extended to you].
“The medical board asks you to give medical reports but you send letters and certificates instead. There is a difference between a report and a letter,” she maintained.
Referring to a photo that had surfaced on social media of the former premier at a cafe in London, the PM’s aide stated: “This indicates that you did not fulfill the reason for which you were allowed to travel abroad.”
She added that Nawaz was misleading PML-N party workers. “We pity them because you have, once again, abandoned them.”
She stated that the same board that had allowed Nawaz to travel abroad, was now saying that the recent paperwork submitted showed that he was well. “On the recommendations of the same board, the federal government has decided to bring Nawaz back to the country,” she said.
On Sunday, the PM’s aide had told journalists that the federal government had decided to approach the British government, seeking the deportation of the former prime minister. In November last year, Nawaz had left for London, 20 days after he was released on bail from a seven-year sentence for corruption.
On December 23, he had sought an extension in his stay abroad on the expiry of the four-week period granted by the Lahore High Court. Following his request, the Punjab government had constituted a four-member committee to decide the matter and had sought fresh medical reports to make an “informed decision”. In January, a picture of Nawaz at a London restaurant along with some members of his family had surfaced on social media, raising questions about the condition of the former premier’s health. Following this, on January 15, the Punjab government had rejected Nawaz’s medical reports which had been submitted on December 23.
Once again on January 30, the Punjab government had asked Nawaz to submit fresh medical reports so that a decision on his request seeking more time abroad could be made. On February 25, the Punjab cabinet had decided not to further extend Nawaz’s bail. The federal government has sent a letter to the UK authorities asking them to deport former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to Pakistan, confirmed Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, a few days after the Punjab government decided to cancel his bail. Briefing the media about the cabinet meeting held earlier, Dr Firdous said “The letter to bring a foreigner back home has been sent”, referring to Nawaz who was allowed by the Islamabad High Court to go abroad for medical treatment last year. Dr Firdous said that based on Shehbaz Sharif’s reaction, it seemed that the letter written by the foreign ministry had arrived in the UK. She said that sending the letter to the UK authorities was necessary to fulfill legal requirements.
A couple of days ago, Dr Firdous had said that the government had decided to write to UK authorities to deport the former prime minister. She had accused the PML-N of not providing the Punjab government with updated medical reports of the PML-N chief. “Nawaz Sharif did not provide his medical reports to the Punjab government and time has now come that he should be brought back,” she had said during an event in Sialkot.
Dr Firdous also blamed a section of the media for creating an environment and portraying as if the former prime minister’s health was in danger if he was not allowed to leave the country. The PML-N, on the other hand, has maintained that Nawaz’s medical reports had been sent to the Punjab government. The party accused the government of resorting to political revenge. She said that the cabinet was given a briefing on the coronavirus situation in Pakistan. Dr Firdous said that the cabinet had decided to tackle the coronavirus situation in coordination with provincial governments. She said that the cabinet had called on taking stringent monitoring and screening measures at entry points, especially airports, to contain the coronavirus.