Nation special report
LONDON: The operational process in regards to mutual legal assistance on various issues including money laundering, accountability, recovery of assets, extradition and transfer of prisoners and other related affairs has started between the UK and Pakistan and the first formal round of talks at various levels was held here on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has already stated that all corrupt elements and looters visible or invisible and their concealed black money would be brought back to the country. To implement his programme, he has sent his special assistance for consultations with the British high authorities.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability (SAPM) Mirza Shahzad Akbar called on the UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid in London on Wednesday. Both sides discussed issues of mutual interest, particularly those related to the provision of mutual legal assistance, extradition requests, prisoner transfer agreement and steps to curb money laundering as well as recovery of assets acquired through illegal means. They also discussed matters pertaining to assistance and support on technical matters, analytical advice and skills capacity building.
The SAPM held meetings with other representatives of the UK Government as well, during which he met Debbie Price, the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor of the International Justice & Organized Crime Division and Philomena Creffield, Head of the UK Central Authority. The two sides agreed on working in close cooperation at the operational level, having enhanced collaboration in the area of information sharing and reviewed progress on specific cases for extradition requests made to the UK Government.
SAPM also called on the UK Prime Minister’s Anti Corruption Champion and Member of Parliament John Penrose at Portcullis House to discuss strategies for making joint efforts in curbing the menace of corruption and plugging existing loopholes at home and abroad.
Later on, SAPM visited the Foreign and Commonwealth Office where he was received by the UK Special Representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) Gareth Bayley. Both sides discussed a wide range of bilateral issues and expressed their commitment to work closely together. Mr. Bayley expressed the British Government’s firm commitment to support Pakistan in its resolve towards fighting corruption and carrying out the accountability process for justice to ensure transparency.
The sources said that cases of various Pakistani figures including politicians were discussed during these meetings and the outcome of these negotiations would be made public at an appropriate time.
The series of consultation and process of taking each other into confidence started at a time when the cases of London based various Pakistani politicians, activists, offenders and wanted criminals are under trial in courts in Pakistan and the authorities require them. “Once the relevant agreements are signed, all hurdles would come to an end in taking them back to home”, the sources added.