Says passports of those on the ECL can’t be renewed; govt can issue a ‘special certificate’ to facilitate return
ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said on Tuesday that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s passport will not be renewed, saying the government could issue a special certificate enabling his return.
“The names of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz are on the Exit Control List (ECL) since August 20, 2018,” Rashid said during a media briefing in Islamabad.
“Those who have their names in ECL are not issued passports, neither are they renewed,” he added.
The interior minister observed that it was the verdict of the high court that Nawaz should return to the country.
Commenting on the former prime minister’s departure, the veteran politician said, “those who leave the country for politics can do anything for votes.”
He further said, “what sort of a politician leaves the country by deceiving [the authorities]. The court’s one-time exemption to him was misused.”
“His passport will expire at midnight tonight. If he wants to come to Pakistan, he can be issued a special certificate on his request,” the minister said and added, “if he doesn’t want to return, then his passport will lose its constitutional standing”.
On Saturday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that talks were in progress with the British government to bring back Nawaz Sharif.
The expiry of the PML-N supremo’s passport has sparked speculation about the options available to him to extend his stay in the United Kingdom, where he has been residing since November 2019.