Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked relevant authorities to take steps to bring back PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif from London and to ensure that he faces the corruption cases pending against him in the courts, according to a media report on Wednesday.
The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the Dawn News reported, quoting a Cabinet member whose identity was not revealed.
Mr Khan asked the authorities to pursue the matter vigorously, the paper said.
According to the Cabinet member, the government had earlier sent a request to the British government for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader's repatriation. However, it would again send a fresh application now.
Besides a normal application, a formal request for his extradition would also be made. "Although we have no extradition treaty with the United Kingdom, wanted people can be repatriated under special arrangements as we had also handed over some people to the UK," the member said.
On Wednesday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) said that it needs to be determined if 70-year-old Sharif was evading court proceedings on purpose.
Nawaz Sharif's exit from Pakistan is a "mockery of the system", said a two-member IHC bench, comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Aamer Farooq.
The federal government told the court that the non-bailable arrest warrants issued for Nawaz Sharif earlier this month were not received at his residence in London.
Additional Attorney General (AAG) Tariq Khokhar said that the arrest warrants were sent to Nawaz Sharif's residence through Royal Mail Special Delivery but a person named Waqar Ahmed refused to receive the delivery.
"He (Sharif) must be sitting there laughing at Pakistan's system. It's a shame," said Justice Kayani.
The hearing of the case was adjourned till October 7.
On September 15, the Islamabad High Court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Nawaz Sharif who failed to surrender before it despite clear warning by the bench. The court said the onus was on the federal government to bring back Sharif from London to stand a trial in Pakistan.
The PML-N had said it honoured the court decision, but the party chief would return once his health permitted him.
Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar were convicted in the Avenfield properties case on July 6, 2018.
Nawaz Sharif was also sentenced to seven years in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case in December 2018. But he was bailed out in both cases and also allowed to go to London for medical treatment in November last year.
In May, a picture of Nawaz Sharif having tea at a London cafe along with his family went viral on social media, sparking a debate on the seriousness of his health condition.
The government came under further criticism when last month Nawaz Sharif's photos surfaced online, showing him strolling in a street, prompting calls from within the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to bring him back.