ISLAMABAD, (24th March, 2021, 08:10 pm) (APP):The Ministry of Interior has rejected an application by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for renewal of his passport as he has been declared a “proclaimed offender” by the Islamabad High Court and is wanted in several other ongoing cases.
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 its renewal.
The Ministry of Interior, in a two-page letter to the High Commission through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has cited a number of reasons and directed it to stop further process.
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 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.
“He being a fugitive of law and absconder, cannot seek any further relief unless he surrenders before the courts in Pakistan,” the letter states.
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.
It pointed out that as per the Islamabad High Court’s 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 stated that 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 mentioned that the following cases were pending in different courts in which Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was required to appear and defend himself:
i. Toshakhana Reference No. 6/2020 pending in Accountability Court No. 3, Islamabad
ii. Criminal Appeal No. 1/2019 pending before Hon’ble Islamabad High Court
iii. Criminal Appeal No. 121/2018 pending before Hon’ble Islamabad High Court
iv. Criminal Appeal No. 3/2019 pending before Hon’ble Islamabad High Court
The Interior Ministry said in view of the points raised Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had “failed to satisfy as to how he fulfills the requirements as envisaged under the relevant scheme of law for renewal of passport”.
“It is pertinent to mention that issuance of passport is not a fundamental right of any citizen. It being a property of 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 might apply for Emergency Travel Document (ETD) from the Pakistan High Commission in London and the same might be issued once he produced prior bookings of travel to Pakistan through PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) only.
The Interior Ministry asked the Pakistan High Commission, London, United Kingdom to convey the same to Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
The Ministry of Interior, in another letter to the 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 the Lahore High Court’s order dated November 16, 2019 (WP. No. 68815/2019) and the undertakings provided by Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif before the court.
The Ministry of Interior 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 United Kingdom with results of the tests
(d) Details of treatment (if any) received in the UK hospitals
(e) Details of ongoing treatment (if any)
It 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.
The ministry 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 out that the provision of medical information was stipulated in the undertaking provided by Muhammad Nawaz Sharif before the Lahore High Court.
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