Law enforcers will decide whether to handcuff Nawaz: PM Kakar

KARACHI: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar said on Wednesday that the decision to handcuff PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif upon his return to the country lay with law enforcement agencies, who would make the decision according to the applicable legal provisions, reported.

In Feb 2020, the then government had declared him an absconder, and later in the same year, an accountability court had declared him a proclaimed offender in the Toshakhana vehicles reference.

Nawaz had left the country in November 2019 on medical grounds following his conviction but never returned.

When questioned about the issue in an interview on Samaa TV, onwhether the PML-N supremo would be handcuffed or not on his return, PM Kakar said: “The law enforcement agencies will decide this matter in light of the law. If they think he (Nawaz) should be chained then they will adopt that path and vice versa.”

Says evidence being collected against political figures, officials involved in smuggling; vows to address GB issues

He said this was the discretion that the leadership of agencies exercised, adding that he hoped “they do it to the best of their ability”.

When asked about growing apprehensions about a likely scenario of Nawaz being arrested upon his return, the prime minister said he was not taking the matter as a “challenge” for himself since he could not decide the issue of the PML-N supremo being behind bars or being free to move according to own wishes.

“I reiterate that the leadership of legal and law enforcement agencies is present. Whatever they decide, whether they send him (Nawaz) behind bars or allow freedom of movement, it will be the decision of the leadership of the judicial process and law enforcement.”

PM Kakar said the government would intervene where it felt the two entities two were defying the law.

Asked a similar question on the treatment meted out earlier today to PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who was brought handcuffed to court for proceedings in the cipher case, the premier said he had a cordial relationship with him.

He added that it needed to be seen whether the law permitted anyone to be handcuffed, saying if the law permitted it then it was correct and vice versa.

Political personalities involved in smuggling

The caretaker PM also spoke about the ongoing action against smuggling and illegal trade, saying that the authorities had identified the officials and political personalities, at the federal and provincial levels involved in such practices, APP reported.

He said the authorities were securing evidences against such individuals, which would be produced before the courts of law, assuring that stern action would be taken against all those involved in such activities.

During the interview on Samaa TV, PM Kakar revealed that a number of bureaucrats and political figures were involved in the smuggling of Iranian oil into the country.

Political figures had, in the past, raised the issue of granting permission for trade in the border areas, he added.

About a question regarding the illegal dollars trade, he said that through stringent measures, the government had stopped the trade physically.

PM Kakar further elaborated that the US dollars were converted into different currencies and parked across the region, leading to a vicious cycle that had been in vogue for a year and a half, which was now being smashed through physical crackdown and border management laws.

GB issues

Separately, the caretaker PM vowed to address proble­ms of Gilgit-Baltistan throu­­gh constitutional means, and said no group would be allowed to enforce its personal agenda.

“The rule of ‘one nation and one law’ will be implemented and there should be no doubt about it,” he said while taking to reporters in Gilgit during his two-day visit to the region.

The prime minister said it was the responsibility of the state to ensure the rights of the people.

He said every effort would be made to resolve the problems of the people of GB and provide them with an honourable life.

He vowed to focus on tapping the economic potential of GB through its tourism and energy production sectors. He said the road infrastructure of GB would be improved to enhance its connectivity with the rest of the country.

He said he held detailed meetings with local stakeholders and highlighted the importance of removing mutual misunderstandings.

Jamil Nagri in Gilgit also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2023

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