PM tasks Foreign Ministry, FIA to contact British authorities for Nawaz’s repatriation | Pakistan Today

PM tasks Foreign Ministry, FIA to contact British authorities for Nawaz’s repatriation

–Forms 6-member committee to deal with opposition’s anti-government campaign

–Imran asks federal cabinet to speak with one voice  

ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Tuesday once again decided to take steps for the repatriation of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister Imran Khan directed his legal and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) teams to take steps to immediately contact the British authorities to help produce Sharif in a court of law.

Informed sources told Pakistan Today that the premier also formed a cabinet committee to monitor and deal with the opposition’s political campaign and to counter their plans against the federal government.

The sources added that the committee will comprise of cabinet ministers, including Asad Umar, Shafqat Mahmood, Sheikh Rashid, Fawad Chaudhry, Shehzad Akbar and Adviser Dr Babar Awan. Furthermore, the cabinet meeting discussed the opposition’s All-Parties Conference (APC) and decided to deal with it prudently.

PM Imran vehemently said that the government would take all measures to bring back the former prime minister and produced in the court, sources added. The meeting considered various methods of ensuring the repatriation of the PML-N leader and then assigned the task to the Foreign Ministry and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

The federal government may once again write a letter to the British government to facilitate Nawaz Sharif’s repatriation as both countries have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for repatriation of the accused.

“On this occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the process of accountability will continue without any discrimination. He said the opposition has realised the fact that no one could get an NRO,” sources said, adding, “With the help of the British government, Nawaz Sharif will be brought back.  He has fled the country under the pretext of illness. He will have to return home and appear before the courts.”

PM Imran emphasised that the government would use all legal options for Nawaz’s early repatriation.  The premier also told the cabinet meeting that the opposition parties were making the institutions controversial in a bid to divert attention from their cases, and reiterated that the government would not submit to these politics of blackmail.

“Corrupt politicians would be dealt with in the same way as criminals are treated. The cabinet should speak with one voice and no minister would have the luxury to offer his/her own legal point of view on political issues. All ministers should legally defend steps taken by their ministries,” said PM Imran.

According to insiders, the cabinet meeting also considered the arrest of opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif, the subsequent press conference by Maryam Nawaz and the statements of PML-N leaders.

Along with this, the cabinet tackled the 16-point agenda of the meeting and approved the appointment of experts for biological medicine; the constitution of the Medical and Dental Council; and appointment of Chairman of the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.

The cabinet was informed that the government has taken important steps to significantly bring down the primary fiscal deficit, improve the nature and quality of domestic and foreign loans, and introduce new products regarding loans.

The cabinet was briefed that the government inherited a debt of Rs30 trillion; hence it had to take $24 billion of loans to pay off instalments of these loans and to prevent the country from bankruptcy. The meeting was informed the government is paying $10 billion per year in loans instead of $5 billion as had been practised during the past governments.

Furthermore, the cabinet was informed that an increase of Rs7.7 trillion was recorded in government loans last year owing to the restoration of the original value of Pakistani currency, whereas coronavirus pandemic caused the loss of income of Rs1 trillion.

The cabinet also granted permissions regarding wheat imports, ratified decisions taken by the Economic Co-ordination Committee on September 23 and the decisions of the Cabinet Committee on Energy held on September 24.

The meeting approved the rationalization of visa policy for Afghanistan. Similarly, the cabinet meeting also approved the designation of Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd for Pakistan. The meeting allowed one-time pre-shipment to pre-shipment agencies regarding import of wheat by the Trading Corporation of Pakistan.

The cabinet noted that in the wake of renegotiations with the independent power producers (IPPs) and rationalizing return on equity cover, the benefit of Rs620 billion is expected in circular debt. The meeting was told that losses in transmission and distributions are continuously decreasing.

Regarding opening up of schools, the cabinet was told that educational activities will be restored throughout Pakistan from Wednesday, reviving the education of 30 million schoolchildren. The cabinet emphasized strictly implementing precautionary measures, including the use of masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

However, the cabinet decided to postpone the registration of new rules in the FIA schedule and the agenda of reorganization and rehabilitation of railways. The meeting also was briefed on the damage incurred to the telemetry system by IRSA.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]