Former Pakistan Prime Minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s passport is going to expire on Tuesday, sparking speculation about the possible options available to the three-time PM to extend his stay in the United Kingdom. Sharif has been living in London since November 2019 after he was allowed to leave the country for medical treatment.
According to The Express Tribune, Nawaz Sharif's name is on the Exit Control List (ECL) and according to Pakistani law, a person whose name is on the no-fly list cannot apply for the renewal of his passport. However, Nawaz Sharif can return to the country anytime.
The report citing sources said that Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid is likely to give a policy statement on the issue. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has, however, refused to comment on Nawaz’s passport renewal. Rashid, while talking to a private television channel, said that the passport would be cancelled on February 16.
Adviser to the Prime Minister Imran Khan on Accountability and Interior Mirza Shahzad Akbar said that United Kingdom authorities had been asked to deport the convicted former Prime Minister from their country. He said Pakistan had written a letter to the UK to cancel the visa of Sharif which was issued for medical treatment after taking an undertaking.
Prime Minister Imran Khan in October said he would contact British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, if needed, to discuss his deportation and his adviser Akbar wrote a letter to British Home Secretary Priti Patel on October 5 urging her to deport the former premier whom he said is responsible for pillaging the state.
Nawaz Sharif, serving a seven-year prison term after his conviction in December 2018, was given rare permission in October 2019 to get medical treatment abroad in view of a debilitating health condition. The Islamabad High Court (IHC), however, declared him a proclaimed offender on December 2, last year as he failed to appear before a bench – originally formed to hear his appeals against his convictions – despite various notices.
Meanwhile, her daughter Maryam Nawaz said on Monday that she will not leave the country to join her father in London for her treatment despite the Imran Khan government's apparent offer to go abroad, news agency PTI reported. "Even if someone (from the government) comes to my home and offers me to go abroad, I will decline it straight away," she said while talking to reporters at her Jati Umra Raiwind residence in Lahore.
"I know some ministers are saying that if Maryam is allowed to go abroad the opposition's movement (against the government) will fizzle out. But let me make it clear that I will not leave my country come what may, and will not seek the removal of my name from the no-fly list," she said.
The PML-N vice president further said that she had to undergo a 'little surgery' which is not possible in Pakistan. "But despite this, I will not leave Pakistan. I will live and die in my country," she asserted.
(With agency inputs)