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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz on Wednesday said the government was trying its level best to repatriate ex-premier Nawaz Sharif from London by using all available options.

Speaking at a presser here, he said that since there was no extradition treaty with the UK due to which “we have formally requested” British authorities through country’s high commissioner in the UK to initiate the repatriation process of Sharif, who had been declared an absconder by the court.

He said that past rulers had deliberately refrained from signing an extradition treaty with certain countries, including the UK, with a view to taking refuge in those countries, where they had stashed their plundered national wealth and built palatial houses.

Faraz lambasted the opposition for “diverting” the war against their corruption towards the institutions, saying they would be exposed soon as their narrative was to "please the enemies".

Speaking about the opposition's stance over events surrounding the arrest of Captain Mohammad Safdar (retd) – the husband of Maryam Nawaz – in Karachi on Monday, he said that the country was being ridiculed globally, and the Indian TV channels were showing images of opposition leaders.

“The opposition has tried to spark conflict among the institutions and is trying to create uncertainty and unrest. The people will hold them accountable for this," he added.

He challenged the opposition's claim that they were fighting for the people's rights, saying the leaders "who used to ride bicycles now arrive in Land Cruisers, and then they talk about the poor people".

He condemned the "drama staged" at Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's mausoleum by Safdar, saying that instead of denouncing it, the PPP had made it a political event.

Faraz said the manner in which the Sindh government reacted to Safdar's arrest, and the move later by PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to reportedly “convince” top Sindh Police officers to defer their leaves over the episode "shows that the Sindh government apparently played quite a sinister role" in the incident.

Answering a question, he cast aspersions on Maryam Nawaz's claim that the police had broken their room's door at their hotel in order to arrest Safdar.

"In the video that I saw it appeared that he (Safdar) was standing in his house and the way he sat in the police van did not show that any force had been used," he added.

Referring to the newly-launched anti-government movement, Faraz said the opposition had united under the PDM's banner to protect their interests.

He went on to accuse the opposition leaders of "trying to sabotage their future accountability".

The minister accused opposition members of having said "shameful" things about women belonging to the government, saying even the First Lady Bushra Imran "was dragged, even though, she is not a political personality".

"They don't realise, which fire they are playing with," he warned.

He also criticised Bilawal and Maryam over their statements following Safdar's arrest, saying they had "inherited" their political position.

"Maryam thinks of herself as Benazir. Benazir was a highly-educated woman of class. Only clothes, shoes and make-up will not cut it…if you talk about the masses you will have to live like them,” he declared.

Faraz said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would not be deterred by the opposition's movement, as his main target was to rid Pakistan of those family parties.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020