Maryam Nawaz Sharif and her husband have come back to Pakistan to face the accountability music. Captain Safdar was taken into custody as soon as the couple touched down in Islamabad. Yet the Sharif men were nowhere to be seen. For Nawaz and sons are still in London. They are said to be by the bedside of their ailing mother, who is recovering from throat cancer surgery. Though not before Nawaz used her to secure his former constituency.The deposed Prime Minister is reportedly going to be out of the country until the first week of January. He had hoped that the court would allow permanent exemption from the case on compassionate grounds. The court, however, is not playing ball. It expects him to present himself at the next hearing, scheduled for October 13.It seems that Nawaz Sharif will not be able to escape accountability — howsoever flawed — for long. The court has declared Sharif’s sons Hassan and Hussain as Proclaimed Offenders; a dubious status they now share with Gen (rtd) Musharraf. And the line that being a British citizen places one of them beyond the reach of Pakistani law doesn’t really fly. Or, at least, it shouldn’t.Pakistan and Britain enjoy no extradition treaty. Though Theresa May could personally intervene, despite Hassan being a citizen of the country that has long been known as the VIP outpost for former Pakistani heads of state wanting to escape corruption or treason charges. Or, indeed, certain political party chiefs wanted for murder. It shouldn’t matter that Hassan is a British citizen. After all, Downing Street has been known to let its nationals languish in Pakistanis jails. Some of whom were left here with explicit instructions to be tortured.The moment has come for Britain to step up. From affording Musharraf a safe-haven just when the civilian set-up was calling for David Cameron to have him extradited. It matters not that this was little more than a public relations stunt on the part of the then PPP government. For Britain has never come clean about why it offered hospitality to a man whose state of emergency saw Pakistan suspended from the Commonwealth until the time when democracy was once more restored.Back at home, Imran Khan is yet again threatening street agitation in the capital. He accuses Nawaz of provoking the Army into coming out of the barracks. Yet why it would need to — when Khan has already announced his willingness to do its bidding for it — is anyone’s guess. Moreover Maj Gen Ghafoor, the DG ISPR, has ruled out any question of marital law. Though he did add the caveat that the Army is busy going about its business as per the Constitution. Which may or may not mean that if Parliament deems it necessary to ask the men in khaki to come to the rescue then it would be duty bound to do so. Something that Imran Khan alluded to back in 2014.Thus the clock is ticking. For Nawaz, his sons and the party in power. This collision course with the institutions of state has to stop. Regardless of just how much Captain Safdar’s military training helps him to sleep easy at night. * Published in Daily Times, October 10th 2017.