Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Shahzad Akbar had written a letter to Secretary of State for the Home Department UK Priti Patel regarding the return of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif to Pakistan, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.
In the letter, which was written on October 5, Akbar had said Priti Patel is “duty-bound” to deport the former prime minister, so he can serve his jail sentence for corruption.
This request to Patel was made in light of her stance on foreign criminals in the post-Brexit political environment.
The letter cites the UK immigration rules which state any criminal facing a sentence of four years or more cannot be allowed to stay in the UK. Akbar asks Patel to use her “extensive powers” to ensure Nawaz’s return.
Sharif “has been responsible for pillaging the state and I trust that you will be supportive of our efforts to bring those responsible for corruption to account,” Akbar wrote.
Nawaz has been in London for the last year on medical grounds, but the courts have been demanding his return to Pakistan. In spite of multiple attempts, the government has so far been unsuccessful in ensuring the PML-N supremo’s return.
“Foreign politicians with convictions relating to corruption should not enjoy impunity in Britain. Nor should their unexplained wealth, stashed in luxury London properties, fall out of the reach of law enforcement,” said Daniel Bruce, head of Transparency International UK.
Nawaz has refused to receive his non-bailable arrest warrants in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case at his residence in London.
He was disqualified by the Supreme Court (SC) in July 2017 for concealing his assets and subsequently awarded seven-year prison time in the Al-Azizia graft case in December 2018.
According to records submitted to the Pakistan authorities, he has given as his London address the very flat on London’s opulent Park Lane that led to his undoing.
A Pakistan official said the UK had not yet formally responded.