‘Tightening noose’: Ishaq Dar seeks political asylum in UK?

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Soon after Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Accountability Shahzad Akbar said the British government has agreed to extradite Ishaq Dar, it was reported that the former finance minister had approached Home Office in London “to apply for political asylum”.

Dar, 69, is currently in London, “undergoing medical treatment”. He is absconding from several cases in Pakistan since 2017 and has been declared a proclaimed offender by the courts.

He is facing charges of accumulating assets beyond known sources of income.

With the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government continuing to claim Dar is only evading the cases against him since he has been spotted walking upright on the streets of London time and again, PM Imran Khan’s special assistant on Tuesday said the former finance minister “will be brought back soon”.

A day later, a private media outlet claimed that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader had reached the Home Office in London for a second interview with regard to political asylum in the United Kingdom (UK).

Rejecting the reports, a close aide of Dar told The Current that he had visited the UK Home Office “only to inform them about the fabricated reports in the name of a recently-signed extradition agreement between the two countries”.

The source’s claim was validated when British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the United Kingdom (UK) would not sign any extradition treaty that could be used for “politically-motivated” cases.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Foreign Minister (FM) Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Hunt confirmed the two had discussed the issue of an extradition treaty between Pakistan and the UK.

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“Let me say it straightforward. The UK will never sign any treaty allowing for politically motivated extradition,” said the British official to which Qureshi added that Pakistan did not intend to use the treaty against political rivals.

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