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Rochdale lawyer describes moment when former Pakistan PM was deported


Written on 9:01 PM by yahoo

Rochdale lawyer describes moment when former Pakistan PM was deported

Shelina Begum

Former Pakistan Prime Minister's UK lawyer has described the shocking moment when Nawaz Sharif was forcefully deported to Saudi Arabia after he landed at Islamabad airport.

Immigration expert Amjad Malik from Rochdale accompanied the former deposed PM when he flew back to the Pakistan capital to restart an election campaign and over throw Musharraf and his administration.

Instead Mr Sharif was taken away by Pakistan's security officials and put on a plane to Saudi Arabia.

Mr Malik says the former PM's forced deportation out of Pakistan was illegal as they had permission from the Supreme Court of Pakistan for Mr Sharif to enter the country.

Mr Malik says he was also unable to represent his client after being hurled away from him by a group of security men and was not given any information about Mr Sharif's whereabouts and opnly found out later that evening after switching on the news in his hotel room.

Said Mr Malik: "The exiled premier of Pakistan returned after seven years of exile on a symbolic PIA flight from Heathrow to Islamabad. However he was shocked along with his fellow travellers that the so called mightiest and the most powerful man in Pakistan (Musharraf) refused his entryto the country and his forced deportation vanished all the hopes of reviving democracy and the possible exit of the military from current political system.

"I was one of the unfortunate lawyers who was asked to assist Mr Sharif on that plane as well as at the airport lounge to make sure he entered the country peacefully.

"To me this historic flight carried its passengers by luck like a lottery ticket as no one knew which plane Mr Sharif was catching.

"But all our efforts were unfruitful when this peaceful visit was halted by a quick army style operation."

Mr Malik said as soon as the plane landed at Islamabad, immigration officials made their way into the plane where they questioned Mr Sharif and asked him to hand over his passport.

Mr Malik told them that they would only show their passports at the immigration desk in the airport.

When they left the plane and proceeded into the airport lounge, security officials and the Pakistan media surrounded Mr Sharif and his team.

Said Mr Malik: "It was chaotic. The officials at the airport would not tell us what they wanted to do. Before we set off we thought the worst case scenario would be that Mr Sharif would be arrested. We were prepared for that and had our paperwork ready to represent Mr Sharif at the Supreme Court if it came to that.

"We waited in the lounge for three hours not knowing what was happening.

"In the end we were rushed by security officials who took Mr Sharif without telling us anything.

"When I tried to intervene I was grabbed and pushed away.

"Me and the rest of his team had no choice but to leave the airport and go to our hotels.

"I started arrangments for my flight back as soon as I could as I did not feel safe being in the country.

"I was also trying to get information about my client but was not able to do so as people were very not co-operative.

"Instead I learned on the news that evening that he had been deported back to Saudi Arabia.

"This trip has left me with no faith in Pakistan’s law and order. This man was twice PM and he was treated like a common thief. People forget that Mr Sharif made Pakistan the seventh state that possesses nuclear arsenal and is one of the most popular leaders in Pakistan.

"We had a court order that stated Mr Sharif should be allowed back into the country.

"But the court order was violated as General Musharraf's regime knows no concept of rule of law and totally disregarded this by deporting him and not even allowing him to enter the country."

Mr Malik who has now returned to Rochdale is still working to bring Mr Sharif back to Pakistan.

He said: "This is not over. I am still in contact with Mr Sharif and his brother and we will work something out."

from asian news

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