The federal government has decided not to renew the passport of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif who has been in London in a self-imposed exile for over a year now.

The government has also written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in this regard.

In response to his request for the renewal of the passport, the government said that the application for renewal of passport by Nawaz was “misconceived and may not be processed by the relevant authorities”.

Nawaz has been declared a proclaimed offender by the Islamabad High Court in the Toshakhana case. An accountability court had also declared Nawaz a proclaimed offender in a case pertaining to the land allotment.

Nawaz is “required to return to Pakistan and appear before the relevant courts to face charges”. “He is a fugitive of the law and absconder cannot seek any further relief unless he surrenders before the courts in Pakistan,” the letter written to the foreign ministry read.

The letter further said that Nawaz was granted 2-month bail in the form of suspension of sentence, which upon expiry was not extended. It said that the former PM was required to serve his remaining sentence at Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore.

It said the issuance of the passport was not a fundamental right, adding that a citizen’s right to travel abroad extinguishes once declared a fugitive of the law.

“In order to return, Nawaz may apply for Emergency Travel Document from the Pakistan High Commission in London and the same may be issued once he produces prior bookings of travel to Pakistan through PIA only,” the letter said, adding that these instruction be relayed to Nawaz as well.

The decision to cancel the passport came days after Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed offered the ex-PM a passport renewal in 24 hours.

Last week, Rasheed had said that the government was ready to facilitate Nawaz if he wishes to come back. His statement was prompted by a meeting of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) wherein PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari had asked Nawaz to come back to Pakistan to lead the anti-government alliance.

The passport of Nawaz Sharif was cancelled on February 16 after the government had tried all means to bring Nawaz back, but without any success. PM Imran had announced that he would go to the UK himself to bring Nawaz back, whereas the interior minister had left the matter to Allah. But eventually, the government had decided to cancel his passport in a bid to force his hand.

Nawaz, who was convicted in Al-Azizia case by an accountability court, was allowed to go to London in November 2019 for medical treatment after his health deteriorated significantly in jail.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here