LONDON: A petition carrying thousands of signatures has been sent to the Interpol’s headquarters in France asking the international body not to take any action against Nawaz Sharif’s sons Hasan and Hussain Nawaz and former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on a request by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) because the cases against them in Pakistan are “politically motivated”.
Its chairperson Barrister Abid Hussain confirmed that he had sent the petition to the Interpol after the NAB approached Lyon-based body to procure the arrest and/or extradition of the Hasan, Hussain and Ishaq Dar . Abid Hussain said that the petition has been signed by more than 2000 people from UK, Europe and the Middle East and has been sent with hundreds of documents to establish that the cases are nothing but a “political witch-hunt”.
He said: “We have raised a cause of concern as members of the overseas Pakistani community in the public interest requesting prevention of the issuance of any notice(s) or warrant(s) against the three as the charges against them are politically motivated on account of their relationship with the former three times Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.”
The petition submits that given the constitutional history of Pakistan and the treatment meted out to political leaders and their families especially the handling of Nawaz Sharif and his family by the Pakistani authorities following the 12 October 1999 military coup, it can be safely predicted that the chances of them receiving a fair trial are virtually non-existent.
It says, “Given that Sharif, his daughter and son-in- law are already kept in solitary confinement and other degrading conditions, it is also clear that these persons will also be subjected to similar treatment violative of basic human rights.”
The petition refers to the Interpol’s own constitution and its Article 3 which expressly prohibits the processing of politically motivated cases. It said, “It has been an established practice of Interpol to refuse requests against any accused in case the charges are either political in nature and/or politically motivated. Examples that can be cited in this regard are Former Premier of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto (in 2006), General Mushrraf (in 2012), Altaf Hussain (in 2017), and Hussain Haqqani (in April 2018).”
The petition raises concerns that political leaders in Pakistan have been removed from their offices and even executed due to their political beliefs and/or refusal to succumb to pressures. It says that Nawaz
Sharif's government was earlier dismissed by a coup staged by General Musharraf in 1999 and he was subsequently tried for hijacking a plane from the Prime Minister's House and sentenced for 77 years, yet illegally exiled with his entire family to Saudi Arabia in December 2000. The petition says that Nawaz Sharif has been involved in struggle for democracy and rule of law.
The petition notes that Nawaz Sharif was disqualified on account of failure to disclose to the election authorities a salary from his son's company which was never drawn.
It says, “What is noteworthy is that the grounds of his disqualification in what came to be known as the Panama Case were neither related to the Panama Leaks nor included in the petition.” It said that on 6 July 2018, an Accountability Court, created under General Musharraf's National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), convicted the former premier of owning assets beyond means but the provisions of NAO Section 9(a)(v) under which he was convicted does not pass the test of criminality in most jurisdictions including the UK. It told the Interpol that Judge Muhammad Bashir acquitted Nawaz Sharif of Corruption, Corrupt Practices and/or Misuse of Office (the National Accountability Ordinance Section 9(a)(iv)). The petition claimed that Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain Safdar are being kept under “solitary confinement and other degrading circumstances”.
The petition pleads: “We strongly feel that Hasan Nawaz Sharif, Hussain Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar have been victimised in the past and are once again subject to political victimisation and the cases against them are based on trumped up charges to gain political advantage over Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. Any notices, warrants or assistance in extradition are being sought only to force Mr. Sharif to succumb to undemocratic political demands.
“Hussain Nawaz Sharif is a former pupil of the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Barrister from Lincoln's Inn and we feel we are under a moral duty to raise our voice to save them from any victimisation at the hands of the politically motivated NAB. All charges and court cases are but to intimidate the Sharif family. We believe it is inevitable that they will not get a fair trial if returned to Pakistan by force and may even be tortured and/or subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment whilst in detention. This may be noted that earlier in 1999/2000 Sharif and those close to him were kept under solitary confinement for months in the 15th century Attock Fort which was used by the Mughal rulers to imprison those guilty of sedition and treason.”