Islamabad, Apr 25 (PTI) Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been issued a passport to return to his home country from the UK where he was seeking treatment, a media report said on Monday.
The 72-year-old three-time premier, against whom several corruption cases were launched by the government of former prime minister Imran Khan, had left for London in November 2019 after the Lahore High Court granted him four-week permission allowing him to go abroad for his treatment. The Express Tribune newspaper reported that he has been issued a passport by the new government headed by his younger brother, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Last year, his passport had expired and it was never renewed by the government of Khan, making it impossible for him to leave London. The nature of the passport issued to Nawaz Sharif is “ordinary” and it was made in the “urgent” category, Geo News reported. The passport was issued in Islamabad on April 23, 2022, it said.
As per the Interior Ministry, the former premier was issued a passport with a 10-year validity, The Express Tribune newspaper reported. On Tuesday, Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah had said that a diplomatic passport was Nawaz Sharif’s right and will be issued to him soon. He had said: “it is unfortunate that a person who has been prime minister three times is being deprived of national citizenship.” The Islamabad High Court (IHC) had also declared a petition challenging the issuance of a diplomatic passport to former premier as inadmissible, and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 (USD 26) on the petitioner.
Earlier this month, PML-N leader Javed Latif had claimed that Nawaz Sharif was expected to be back in Pakistan after Eid in May first week. Sharif, who is the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo, last week met Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in London and discussed the “overall political situation” in Pakistan and vowed to work together on issues pertaining to politics and national interest.
The PPP and the PML-N — the two main political parties — have been alternatively in power when the military was not ruling the country. The powerful Army has ruled the coup-prone country for more than half of its 75-plus years of existence. Sharif, before flying to the UK in 2019, had given an undertaking to the Lahore High Court to return to Pakistan, citing his record to face the process of law and justice within four weeks or as soon as he is declared healthy and fit to travel by doctors.
He was also given bail in the Al-Azizia Mills corruption case in which he was serving seven-year imprisonment in Lahore’s high-security Kot Lakhpat jail. Sources in his PML-N said that Nawaz Sharif was eager to come back and clear his name through the courts.
He had already challenged his both convictions in the Islamabad High Court, which would take up the matter once he appears before the court.
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