Former PM Nawaz Sharif faces a setback from PTI government

Former PM Nawaz Sharif faces a setback from PTI government

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior has decided not to renew the passport of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif while rejecting the latter’s request.

Nawaz, who has been declared absconder by a Pakistani court after he did not return to the country from London to attend hearing of cases, had approached the government through the Pakistan High Commission in London on February 15 — a day before the expiry of his passport.

The high commission forwarded Nawaz’s letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from where it was sent to the Ministry of Interior.

In response to his request, the interior ministry said that no new passport will be issued to absconding Nawaz Sharif since it is not a fundamental right of a citizen.

However, it said that special documents could be offered to the former premier if he wants to fly back to Pakistan.

The ministry said that Emergency Travel Document (ETD) may be issued to Nawaz Sharif once he produces “prior bookings of travel to Pakistan through PIA only”.

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

The 71-year-old was granted bail for eight weeks by the IHC in October 2019 for his treatment abroad. His bail expired in February 2020. In November 2020, the Islamabad High Court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Nawaz.

The interior ministry stated that the former prime minister was now required to serve his remaining sentence at Kot Lakhpat jail Lahore.

“Yet, rather than obeying the dictates of the court and abiding by the conditions precedent in the bail granting order, he fled the country to avoid prosecution,” it said in a letter said.