Pakistan has refused an extradition flight from the United Kingdom for deporting 40 nationals back to the country. Britain reportedly apportioned £300,000 for a chartered plane scheduled for Islamabad International Airport, with Pakistan withdrawing clearance for landing at the last minute.
According to the British newspaper The Sun, Pakistan refused extradition clearance amid deepening uncertainties between the government and ex-pat Nawaz Sharif.
As per the reports, the U.K. Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has been requested to return the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been living in London for a year. The former prime minister was temporarily released from prison to leave Pakistan for an 8-week trip for medical treatment.
The Sun reported a source, who said,
Pakistan sent a warning that it need not accept illegal immigrants from London if Britain will not return its former PM, who many believe is staying in the U.K. illegally.
The U.K.-based newspaper has reportedly seen videos and photos of the ex-prime minister walking to and from his luxury mansion in central London in recent months. Notable critics and journalists claim he has not spent a single night at any hospital in the capital.
In the past few months, Nawaz Sharif has engaged in a widespread rebellion against the government of Pakistan, citing false accusations and directing party members to extract resignation from Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Khan’s adviser, Mirza Shahzad Akbar, reportedly wrote to the U.K. Home Secretary on 5th October, where he said that Nawaz 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.”
A brief spell of silence ensued between the two countries, with no response from the U.K. regarding Nawaz Sharif’s repatriation. On 20th October, Pakistan withdrew permission for a charter flight from Heathrow Airport.
In a recurring series of letters exchanged between Home Secretary, Priti Patel, and SAPM, Mirza Shahzad Akbar, the U.K. government made its stance clear on the subject of extraditing wanted runaways. One such letter read,
Should the U.K. receive an extradition treaty request we would, of course, give it our full attention under the provision of U.K. law.
Chief Executive of Transparency International U.K., Daniel Bruce, told The Sun,
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. Progress towards a formal extradition process is welcome in order to uphold the rule of law in partnership with other countries. Action should also be taken to seize and return any illicit assets held here in Britain in order to deliver justice for the victims of corruption.
The government of Pakistan has publicly confirmed that clearance was withdrawn for an Islamabad-bound extradition flight from the U.K. Further details on recursive action against the ex-pat Nawaz Sharif are yet to be revealed.