Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said on Wednesday that the decision of whether or not to handcuff Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif upon his return to the country will be made by the law enforcement agencies (LEAs).
In an exclusive interview with Samaa TV, Kakar said that the LEAs will make the decision based on the applicable legal provisions. He did not elaborate on what those legal provisions are.
The statement comes a day after former prime minister and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif announced that his elder brother will return to Pakistan on October 21.
Nawaz was convicted in the Al-Azizia Mills and Avenfield corruption cases in 2018. The cases are still sub-judice.
However, Sharif left for London on November 19, 2019, after the Islamabad High Court released him on bail from a seven-year sentence for corruption.
He was diagnosed with an immune system disorder. The 70-year-old PML-N supremo had got bail in two corruption cases and is facing another reference by the National Accountability Bureau.
His departure had come after deliberation and undertaking by his brother Shehbaz Sharif, who stated he would “ensure the return of his brother within four weeks or on certification by doctors that he has regained his health and is fit to return back to Pakistan”.
To a question about the issue during the interview, PM Kakar said: “The law enforcement agencies (LEAs) 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.”
He said this was the discretion that the leadership of LEAs 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.
Regarding 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.