ISLAMABAD: 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, sources said Tuesday. The development comes after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif — the younger brother of Nawaz — was sworn in as the premier following the ouster of PTI Chairman Imran Khan from office.
The sources further added 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 Khan-led government had refused to renew Nawaz’s passport after it expired in February last year, but then-interior minister Sheikh Rasheed 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 to date.
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.
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 the PML-N supremo’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 was expected to return to Pakistan after Eid. Speaking on Geo News programme “Aapas Ki Baat”, PML-N senior leader Javed Latif had said that Nawaz will return to Pakistan after Eid as currently there is no pandemic in the country.
Latif had further said that after coming to Pakistan, Nawaz will face the cases against him. “He [Nawaz Sharif] will face the courts and rule of law, but we expect neither should anyone should be treated as ladle [favourite] nor should anyone have to face brutality,” he had added.