The Pakistan government has announced that it will cancel former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s passport in a month-and-a-half on February 16 when his current passport expires – indicating that Nawaz’s passport will not be renewed.
On Wednesday, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said: We have decided to cancel Nawaz Sharif’s passport on February 16.
Adviser to Prime Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan said Nawaz’s stay in London will become illegal after his passport expires. The only option for the PML-N supremo, after his passport expires, would be to come back to Pakistan and appear in court to face the cases against him, Awan said.
While several ministers have made statements, it’s understood that Prime Minister Imran Khan will make a final decision on this matter in a few days and the opinion of Shahzad Akbar, PM’s advisor on accountability is likely to be taken because of his background in law.
Speaking to Geo, Hateem Ali, head of immigration at the leading London law firm GSC Solicitors LLP, said former PM Nawaz Sharif can continue staying in London when and if his passport is cancelled – without claiming asylum.
The UK Home Office in any event allows those on medical visas normally up to 18 months on the grounds that he is receiving treatment in the UK, he said.
Ali said that Nawaz can “potentially extend this even further depending on the nature of the treatment and with the current global pandemic the UK immigration authorities can also take this into consideration and grant further extensions of stay if necessary”.
The immigration law expert said: Mr Sharif could claim asylum potentially if he wants to, although it is unlikely that he would do so. He has the ability to claim statelessness (assuming he has no other nationality) if his citizenship has been revoked and he is left with no other nationality.
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