The federal government has directed the Ministry of Interior for the renewal of ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former finance minister Ishaq Dar’s passports, it is learnt.

The development comes after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the younger brother of Nawaz, was sworn in as prime minister following the ouster of Imran from the office through no-confidence vote.

Insiders said that the Pakistani High Commission in London has also been directed to start work on the renewal of the passports of the PML-N leaders.

The PTI-led government had refused to renew Nawaz’s passport after it expired in February last year, but then-interior minister Sheikh Rashid had said if the PML-N supremo wanted to return, he could be issued a special certificate.

The PML-N supremo was granted an eight-week bail on medical grounds in October 2019, and a month later, he was allowed to travel abroad for treatment for four weeks — but he is still in London.

In 2018, an accountability court had sentenced Nawaz to seven years in prison in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference, while he was also sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison and slapped an £8 million fine (Rs1.3 billion) in the Avenfield properties reference.

Imran Khan had repeatedly lashed out at Nawaz for going abroad for treatment, but earlier in February, he noted that letting the PML-N supremo leave Pakistan was a “major mistake” of his government.

In December last year amid escalated political activities, a debate erupted over the rumours of Nawaz’s possible return to Pakistan, but his party maintained that Nawaz would return after he has fully recovered.

Meanwhile, PML-N senior leader Mian Javed Latif had said a day earlier that the former prime minister would likely return after Eid.

Talking to a news channel, Javed said Nawaz Sharif would face the courts on his return to Pakistan.

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