UK rejects online petition seeking Ishaq Dar’s deportation

The British govt says the petition carried false, defamatory information on Dar; only Pakistani govt can initiate legal proceedings

Murtaza Ali Shah
Wadood Mushtaq

LONDON: The British government has rejected a petition which called on Theresa May’s government to deport former finance minister Ishaq Dar to Pakistan from London.

The petition was filed by an activist from the UK around a month ago which was signed by more than 80 thousand internet users making a number of allegations against Dar, but the British government, in a statement, rejected these allegations and made it clear that the petition will not be entertained.

A written statement issued by the petitions team of UK government and parliament said: "We rejected the petition you supported – “Deport absconder Pakistan’s Ex-Finance Minister Ishaq Dar back to Pakistan."

The statement said that the online petition against Dar included "libellous, false or defamatory information," which could not be relied upon to take action against him.

The UK government’s petitions team told the petitioners that the Britain has no formal extradition treaty with Pakistan. “Section 194 of the Extradition Act 2003 does allow special extradition arrangements in exceptional circumstances. However, under current law, an extradition process is initiated at the request of the government of the country in which the individual has been convicted of a crime. It would therefore be the Pakistani government's responsibility to initiate such proceedings."

The petitions committee said it reviewed the online petition after getting 10,000 signatures for its consideration but rejected it on technical and legal grounds.

The committee is set up by the House of Commons. It comprises up to 11 backbench members of parliament from government and opposition parties. The number of committee members from each political party is representative of the membership of the House of Commons as a whole.

Former finance minister Dar presently resides in UK without a passport after his diplomatic passport was cancelled. It is pertinent to mention here that the Supreme Court of Pakistan has called on the Government of Pakistan to bring back Dar for the cases which are under trial in the apex court.

The petition had alleged that "Dar has been declared an absconder in a corruption reference filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) of Pakistan” and “every year hundreds of children die of hunger in the country and these corrupt politicians make millions in corruption and leave the country to hide elsewhere, mostly in the UK” and therefore “they must be deported to Pakistan so that they can be held accountable.”

Dar has been stateless after Pakistan’s federal government cancelled his diplomatic passport. The cancellation of the passport means that the former minister is in London without a travel document and unable to travel to Pakistan.

He arrived in the UK last year in November to seek medical treatment and remains under treatment of London Neurosurgery Partnership at Harley Street.