By Hamza Ameer
Islamabad, March 25 (IANS) Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been living in London for the past 16 months after being ousted from power but was later allowed to travel abroad on medical grounds, had sought renewal of his diplomatic passport but the government has denied his request and told him to return to Pakistan.
As per diplomatic sources, Nawaz Sharif wrote to the Pakistani High Commission on February 15, a day before the expiry of his passport on February 16. In a two-line letter, he called on the mission to take all steps necessary in accordance with the rules and regulations to issue a new diplomatic passport to him.
“As you may be aware that February 16, 2021 is the expiry date of my diplomatic passport number BV5128363. It is requested to take all the steps necessary in accordance with rules and regulations to issue new diplomatic passport,” he said.
The Pakistani High Commission wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad seeking advice on the request, and it, in turn, forwarded the letter to the Ministry of Interior, which has sought details of Sharif’s medical treatment in the UK.
These details include the current diagnosis by medical doctors, name and address of the doctor under whom medical treatment is being received, copies of all the medical reports including tests undertaken in the UK with results of the tests, details of treatment received in the UK hospitals, details of ongoing treatment, details of payment made for medical treatment in the UK, and dates of visits and consultations made with doctors in the UK.
The Interior Ministry, in its letter, also asked Sharif to sign an attached consent form for release of medical information to the Pakistan High Commission in London.
The letter comes in pursuance of a decision by the Lahore High Court on November 16, 2019, along with the undertaking, provided by Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif before the court.
As per the undertaking, Sharif had agreed to provide medical information to the government, which was also mentioned in the judgment of the Lahore High Court.
However, the Interior Ministry instructed the foreign office against processing the passport renewal application of Nawaz Sharif, highlighting that he has been declared as an absconder and proclaimed offender by the Islamabad High Court in a corruption reference, while the same has been done by the National Accountability Court (NAB) as well.
“Nawaz Sharif is thereby required to return to Pakistan and appear before the relevant 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,” its letter read.
Reminding Sharif that the bail permission by the Lahore High Court was for eight weeks, and that the Punjab provincial government did not extend the bail after the expiry of this time, the Ministry stated: “Nawaz Sharif is now required to serve the remainder of his sentence at Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore. Yet, rather then obeying the dictates of the court and abiding by the conditions in the bail granting order, he fled the country to avoid prosecution.”
By Hamza Ameer