Pakistan’s prime minister urges government spokespersons to highlight economic achievements before media
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday directed the authorities concerned to utilize all legal means to bring former prime minister Nawaz Sharif back to Pakistan from the U.K., claiming it was the government’s responsibility to ensure the presence of all suspects wanted by the courts.
“The PMLN [Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)] is using the alleged health issues of [leader] Nawaz Sharif for political purposes. The opposition is more interested in extricating Nawaz from court cases rather than safeguarding the national interests,” a participant of the meeting of government spokespersons quoted Khan as saying. “We will take all legal measures to repatriate Nawaz Sharif,” he added.
Sharif was sentenced to 7 years’ imprisonment in the Al-Azizia corruption case in 2018 and was granted eight-week bail on Oct. 29, 2019 due to his health. On Nov. 19, 2019, he flew to London in an air ambulance for medical treatment, where he has remained since.
The Punjab government has refused to extend Sharif’s bail, claiming he has failed to submit medical reports confirming his health status. In February, it directed the former premier to return to Pakistan and surrender to authorities.
On Saturday, Adviser to the P.M. on Accountability Shehzad Akbar vowed to ramp up efforts to bring back Sharif, and claimed the former prime minister had left as part of a “deal” with state institutions. He later clarified that he had not intended to defame any state institution. Meanwhile, Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry has claimed Sharif’s reports were fake and suggested a probe should be initiated to fix responsibility.
Reportedly, the prime minister did not make any calls to repatriate former president Pervez Musharraf—also a declared absconder and wanted by Pakistan’s court.
During the meeting on Monday, the prime minister also discussed the government’s strategies to enact legislation required by the Financial Action Task Force to bring Pakistan out of the grey-list. Khan also urged all the spokespersons to highlight the government’s achievements in boosting the country’s economy.
“Our economic policies have begun to bear fruits. We are now focused on providing relief to the people,” he was quoted as saying.