ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar has affirmed that the decision to handcuff PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif upon his return home falls within the purview of law enforcement agencies, and they will base this decision on relevant legal provisions.
In a recent interview on a private TV channel, a query was raised regarding whether the leader of the Muslim League (N) would be subjected to handcuffing upon his return. He stressed that the determination of this matter lies with the law enforcement agencies, and if they deem it necessary to restrain Nawaz Sharif, they will proceed accordingly.
He further highlighted that this discretion solely rests with the law enforcement agencies, expressing optimism that they will fulfill this duty to the best of their capabilities.
Nawaz Sharif left the country on medical grounds in November 2019 following his conviction but has not returned since. He was granted permission to travel abroad for medical reasons 20 days after being convicted in the Al-Azizia case.
In February 2020, the government at the time declared him a fugitive, and later that year, the accountability court declared him an absconder in the Tosha Khana vehicle reference.
On August 10, when asked if the caretaker government would present any hurdles upon Nawaz Sharif’s return, Shahbaz Sharif confidently stated that Nawaz Sharif would face the law. He asserted without a doubt that Nawaz Sharif would return to Pakistan and face legal proceedings.
During the interview, when questioned about the potential ramifications of Nawaz Sharif’s arrest upon his return, the Caretaker Prime Minister underscored that he does not perceive this issue as a personal challenge. He clarified that he lacks the authority to decide whether the leader of the Muslim League (N) will be incarcerated or allowed to move freely, as this decision rests with the law enforcement agencies and the judiciary.
He emphasized that if the government identifies violations of the law by two institutions, it will step in and intervene in such cases.
Regarding the issue of PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi being handcuffed and brought to court for proceedings related to the cipher case, the Prime Minister mentioned his amicable relationship with Shah Mahmood. He suggested that the permissibility of handcuffing would hinge on legal provisions.
In reference to the letter penned by President Dr. Arif Alvi to Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, Anwaarul Haq Kakar clarified that the authority to set the election date rests exclusively with the Election Commission. He elucidated that the President has proposed a date, and the Election Commission will consider it while ensuring the requisite conditions for a fair and transparent electoral process. The Election Commission will announce the appropriate date for the election in due course.
Realistically, if the delimitation process is completed, any date between mid to late January could be selected as the election date, he added.
Anwaarul Haq Kakarr affirmed that the caretaker government stands fully prepared to support the electoral process. The interim setup’s role is to oversee the process, and their preparations are largely complete.