British High Commissioner calls on Sheikh Rasheed, matters of mutual interest discussed

ISLAMABAD: British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner called on Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed in Islamabad on Tuesday to discuss matters of mutual importance.

The meeting reviewed the progress on the extradition treaty between both countries for bringing back convicted persons and those wanted in heinous crimes. Both sides agreed to complete all formalities at the earliest in this regard.

The Interior Minister said that Pakistan had strong ties with the United Kingdom and the image of Pakistan in the world improved due to positive security advice by the United Kingdom.

Sheikh Rasheed said it was very unfortunate that those looting the national kitty of poor states managed to escape in other countries and there was a need to take steps against such persons whether fleeing in any of the countries. Contacts between Pakistan and the UK need to be further enhanced.

The Minister also tweet regarding the meeting: “British High Commissioner His Excellency Mr. Christian Turner calling on Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on February 2, 2021.”

British High Commissioner Christian Turner expressed satisfaction over the internal security in Pakistan and prevention measures taken to combat COVID-19. He also stressed the need for promoting trade and tourism between both countries. “The launch of British Airways and Virgin Airlines will boost trade and tourism between the two countries,” British envoy said.

This meeting was very important as previously the UK government refuses to deport Nawaz as arrest warrants have no ‘legal bearing.’ Pakistan faces another barrier in the legal process of former premier Nawaz Sharif’s extradition as Britain refuses to take action on the basis of the non-bailable arrest warrants served by the Pakistan High Commission in London.

In response to a letter sent to Prime Minister Boris on behalf of a Pakistani constituent, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said, “we are aware that Nawaz Sharif is currently in Britain. The UK law sets out clearly and publicly what the Government can and cannot do on immigration matters, we act strictly in accordance with the rules on all sides.”

It added that the non-bailable arrest warrants which have been served by the Pakistan High Commission in London have no legal bearing on his current status in the UK. The UK police cannot arrest someone in the UK on the basis of non-UK court orders. In this case, Sharif’s status under Pakistani laws is a matter for the Pakistan government and legal system.

It further added that the countries do not have an extradition treaty. However, extraditions are still possible and have taken place. If an extradition request were to be submitted through the proper channels it would be considered in line with the UK laws.

It added that the former PM came to London for his medical treatment and has now refused to go back, and the UK government should send him back to Pakistan.

Earlier on December 2, 2020, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) declared former prime minister Nawaz Sharif a proclaimed offender in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia references.

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