Nawaz’s passport to expire tonight, govt to not extend his passport: Sheikh Rasheed

ISLAMABAD: Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s passport will expire at midnight tonight. The PML-N founder is currently in London for medical treatment.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed said that the government will not extend his passport. If he wants to come to Pakistan, then he must submit a request, and then emergency travel documents will be issued to him.

The minister further added that No one from the PML-N’s team has, however, contacted the Pakistan High Commission over the matter.

The three-time former premier, Nawaz Sharif, arrived in the UK in November 2019 for medical treatment. He was sentenced to seven and 10 years in prison in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield flats references. The former premier’s sentence in the Al-Azizia reference was suspended. He has filed an appeal seeking its annulment.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has also filed appeals to extend his sentence to 14 years in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case. It seeks an end to the suspension of Nawaz’s sentence in the Avenfield case too.

In October 2019, the Islamabad High court (IHC granted Nawaz bail on humanitarian grounds and allowed him to travel to London. His bail expired in February. Last month, the IHC issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Nawaz. But the warrants were not received by the ex-premier.

Last year, Interior Minister said the former prime minister’s passport would be cancelled on Feb 16 next year. “Let me give you a piece of news. We will cancel Nawaz Sharif’s passport on Feb 16.”

A diplomatic passport bearing number BV5128363 with five-year validity had been issued to the PML-N supreme leader on Feb 18, 2016. The expiry date of the passport is Feb 16, 2021.

Under the rules, former presidents, prime ministers, Senate chairmen, speakers of the National Assembly, chief justices, governors, chief ministers, ministers and ministers of state, special assistants to the prime minister and attorneys general are entitled to hold diplomatic passports, but the Sharif’s case is different because he is an absconder.

Meanwhile, PML-N Vice President Mohtarma Maryam Nawaz said that last year she submitted a petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) requesting her name to be removed from the ECL. Due to coronavirus, the request was delayed.

She further added: “I have to go through a small surgery that can’t be performed in Pakistan, but I have decided I don’t want my name to be removed anymore,” adding that those who think she will leave the country are wrong.

Raja Furqan Ahmed

Raja Furqan Ahmed is the News Editor of The Pakistan Daily.

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