Nawaz Sharif is a “fugitive” & “absconder”; cannot renew passport: Interior Ministry

Nawaz Sharif is a "fugitive" & "absconder"; cannot renew passport: Interior Ministry

APP DigitalISLAMABAD, March 24 (APP): Terming Nawaz Sharif a “proclaimed offender”, the Ministry of Interior rejected an application by the former Prime Minister for renewal of his diplomatic passport and said he was wanted in several other ongoing cases.

“He being a fugitive of law and absconder cannot seek any further relief unless he surrenders before the Courts in Pakistan,” the Ministry of Interior said in response to a request by Nawaz Sharif for renewal of his diplomatic passport.

The official passport of the former prime minister, who was allowed to go to London, seemingly for some medical treatment, expired early this year and he formally lodged an application with the Pakistan High Commission in London for renewal.

Earlier the Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said in December that the passport of Nawaz Sharif would expire on February 16, and would not be renewed.

The Ministry of Interior in a two-page letter to the High Commission, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cited reasons and directed Pakistan High Commission in London to stop further process.

“He [nawaz sharif] being a fugitive of law and absconder cannot seek any further relief unless he surrenders before the Courts in Pakistan”

According to the letter, available with the APP; “Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has been declared a proclaimed offender by Islamabad High Court in Criminal Appeal No. 1/2019, titled, “Mian Nawaz Vs NAB”, as well as in Reference No. 6/2020, namely, Toshakhana Reference by the Accountability Court No. 3 of Islamabad.

Similarly, he has been declared a proclaimed offender in Reference No. 15/2020 in the case of Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman by the Accountability Court No. 1 of Lahore.

The Ministry of Interior said Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was therefore required to return to Pakistan and appear before the courts to face charges.

The letter dated March 16 has been sent with a covering letter, dated March 17 to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for onwards transmission to the Pakistan High Commission in London.

Nawaz Sharif is a "fugitive" & "absconder"; cannot renew passport: Interior Ministry

Nawaz Sharif is a "fugitive" & "absconder"; cannot renew passport: Interior Ministry

It points that as per the Islamabad High Court order dated 29.10.2019, “Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was granted 8-week bail in the form of suspension of sentence, which upon expiry was not extended by the Punjab Government as he failed to put forth reasonable cause as to why it should be extended for his medical treatment.”

The letter categorically states that therefore Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was now required to serve the remainder of his 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.”

The Ministry of Interior pointed out that the following cases were pending in different courts in which Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was required to appear and defend himself:

  • Toshakhana Reference No. 6/2020 pending in Accountability Court No. 3, Islamabad
  • Criminal Appeal No. 1/2019 pending before Hon’ble Islamabad High Court
  • Criminal Appeal No. 121/2018 pending before Hon’ble Islamabad High Court
  • Criminal Appeal No. 3/2019 pending before Hon’ble Islamabad High Court

issuance of a passport is not a fundamental right of any citizen. It being a property of the Federal Government may only be issued once the applicant satisfies the relevant authorities regarding the bonafide of the application

The Interior Ministry says that in view of the points raised Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has “failed to satisfy as to how he fulfils the requirements as envisaged under the relevant scheme of law for renewal of passport.”

“It is pertinent to mention that the issuance of a passport is not a fundamental right of any citizen. It being a property of the Federal Government may only be issued once the applicant satisfies the relevant authorities regarding the bonafide of the application. A citizen’s right to travel abroad extinguishes once declared a fugitive of law.”

The Ministry said the former Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif may apply for Emergency Travel Document (ETD) 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 Interior Ministry asked the Pakistan High Commission, London, the United Kingdom to convey the same to Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

Nawaz Sharif is a "fugitive" & "absconder"; cannot renew passport: Interior Ministry

The Ministry of Interior in another letter to Additional Secretary (Europe), Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked it to help provide information related to the medical treatment of the former prime minister, in view of Lahore High Court’s order dated 16 November 2019 (WP. No. 68815/2019) and the undertakings provided by Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif before the Court.

The Ministry of Interior has sought the following information;

(a) Current diagnosis by the medical doctors (b) Name and address of doctors under whom you are receiving medical treatment

(c) Copies of all the medical reports including tests undertaken in the UK with results of the tests

(d) Details of treatment (if any) received in the UK hospitals

(e) Details of ongoing treatment (if any)

It has also asked for the details of payments made for medical treatment in the UK, the dates of visits and consultations made with doctors in the UK.

It also asked for signatures of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on the consent form. in the United Kingdom, for release of medical information to the Pakistan High Commission, London. UK.

The Interior Ministry asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the High Commission to contact the medical team for collection of medical information and pointed that the provision of medical information was stipulated in the undertaking provided by Muhammad Nawaz Sharif before the Lahore High Court.

-Report by Shafek Koreshe

By Shafek Koreshe

A Senior Journalist serving as Director Digital News for the Associated Press of Pakistan; with 30 years experience in covering major national, international news stories, well-traveled; covered summits, conflict zones and special assignments.

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