Nawaz Sharif’s future: can he be repatriated?

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Salahuddin Haider

A household discussion for the last many months, gaining intensity after his controversial speech accusing army and ISI chief, General Qamar Bajwa and Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed of being responsible for interference in politics. What is his future? Can he be repatriated or would he seek asylum in London of would he prefer to be back home to play the role he had been playing since 1985? Will he or can he assume authority again.
All these are vital but ticklish questions. Finding their answers is realy complex in present circumstances. If government announcements are to be relied upon, then two divergently opposed factors come to mind instantly. These relate to his status of either being a fugitive or a legally allowed to enjoy the comfort of English conditions. England, in fact entire Western Europe is a healthier place to live.
One version given by Prime Ministers’ adviser on accountability and internal affairs Dr Shahzad Akbar is that he will be “Stateless” after his passport expires on 16th of February this year. His ten-year visa to be in England, has already passed, but perhaps because of his stature of a VVIP, he may have been allowed concession to prolong his stay in England.
Those of us, who had the privilege and chances of visiting England, know that visas can b extended by the Commonwealth and Home Office, located in Croydon, some 50 miles away from London proper. In as past prime ministers on three different times, he held a diplomatic passport, which is given a 10-year visa to visit England at will. But the permission to stay in that country is limited to six months, unless extended on request.
But after losing travel documents, which is now clear as sunshine that Imran Khan government seems in no mood to renew or issue him a new passport. That leaves the PML-N chief to seek asylum for being victimized at home. This is not much dissimilar case than that of MQM founder Altaf Hussain, who, after an attack on his vehicle in 1991, left for Saudi Arabia, and went to England from there. But he was given asylum and UK citizenship by a court of law.
Nawaz, however, after sentence for imprisonment, spent time in Lahore hospital, and was allowed to abroad or treatment by a law court, and the cabinet for a disease that can be fatal. Bu the permission to stay outside Pakistan was only or 8 weeks, during which he was supposed to submit weekly medical certificates about his treatment and health. That was conveniently ignored, which forced the superior court to declare him absconder, a decision which was not only advertised but given wide publicity.
The court permitting him to seek treatment abroad, recently asked sensitive questions as to why progress report about his health was not certified by British hospitals and health authorities. How could it be treated as genuine. To top it all, his daughter Maryam kept saying that one of his main artery to heart was blocked, but surgery had to be delayed for Covid-19, lest it has harmful after effects. This story went round and round multiple times, and now Maryam finally has conceded that Nawaz is not returning home. Some kind of a joke? Is’nt it?
MQM leader Altaf Hussain has no criminal record, but after recovery of 40,000 Pound sterling in cash from his house, he was interrogating time and again, and now his office at High Street in Lodon, and house, has been sealed. Where is he living, how is he meeting his expenses remains a secret. In the eyes of many a legal expert no court can hear appeal for asylum or permit him to remain in London, because he is a convict, absconder, and wanted by the court and law enforcement agencies in Pakistan. The prime problem with Pakistan government is the absence of repatriation treaty, but then according to Dr Shahzad Akbar, several other internal laws can be cited to request his deportation from England on money laundering charges.
However Nawaz somehow has a saving clause to protect himself, which is his huge investment in Britain, America, Dubai etc. Pakistan government has already written to British Home Secretary Priti Patel to send him back to Pakistan. But as the name suggest Miss Priti must be of Indian origin and India’s support to Nawaz is too well know to recount. Whether she takes notice of the Pakistan government demand, time alone can tell. Giving protection to a criminal again will be major factor in court hearings.
However lawyers feel that if Pakistan files a court case for his deportation in a British court, there are considerably bright chances of success. What view the court takes again remains to be seen. Rumours has been afloat lately that Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Sultan had offered him to be in Saudi Arabia, but commenting on it will be futile for want of confirmation. Nawaz must be preparing to protect himself, but in what way, is not known.