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Issue of Nawaz’s diplomatic passport to go to court

Petition says issuance of passport is violative of law, a mockery of justice system and disgrace to the nation

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday has been moved to stop the anticipated issuance of a diplomatic passport to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, directing authorities to immediately detain him upon arrival to Pakistan.

Nawaz has been residing in London ‘owing to bad health’ since November 2019. The Lahore High Court allowed him to go to London for four weeks for medical treatment. Shehbaz Sharif, his younger brother and the incumbent prime minister, gave assurances that Nawaz would return within the given time. Later, Nawaz pursued extensions to extend his stay in London citing medical issues.

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Advocate Naeem Haider Panjutha, filed the petition in the IHC on Thursday, referencing media reports that said Nawaz was being issued a diplomatic passport. He said that the interior and foreign affairs secretaries were instructed to issue a diplomatic passport to Nawaz.

The petitioner argued that as Nawaz was a court absconder who was convicted by the National Accountability Bureau Court for corruption, the move was “violative of law”. The petitioner added, “[It will be] a mockery of the justice system and disgrace to the nation if a diplomatic passport is issued to a convict.”

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah will take up the petition on April 18.

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