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Britain rejects Nawaz Sharif’s request for visa extension

PML-N leader files appeal in immigration tribunal

SAMAA | - Posted: Aug 5, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Aug 5, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago

Artwork by SAMAA Digital

The British authorities rejected former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s request for an extension in his visit visa Thursday.

The PML-N leader’s six-month visit visa had expired, after which he had put in a request with the UK Home Office to grant him an extension on medical grounds.

The request was, however, denied by the immigration department.

Legally, Nawaz has two options now. He can either go to the British court or contact the Pakistan government for travel documents.

According to PML-N spokesperson Maryam Aurangzeb, Nawaz’s lawyers have filed an appeal in the British immigration tribunal. The PML-N leader can lawfully stay in the UK until the tribunal gives a decision on the appeal, she added.

Nawaz travelled to the UK in November 2019 for medical treatment.

Expired passport

Nawaz’s passport expired in February this year. Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed had said that he won’t be issued a new one because his name is placed on the Exit Control List.

“Since August 20, 2018, Nawaz Sharif and Maryam have been [placed] on the ECL,” said Rasheed. “People whose names are placed on the ECL, they are neither issued a new passport nor are they given a new one.”

Rasheed revealed the government had no plan to bar Sharif from coming to Pakistan.

“Nawaz Sharif is not being barred from coming to Pakistan,” he said, adding that the former prime minister could be issued a special approval to fly back to Pakistan if he files an application at the country’s high commission in the UK.

Cases against Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan

He was sentenced to seven and 10 years in prison in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield flats references. The former premier’s sentence in the Al-Azizia reference was suspended. He has filed an appeal seeking its annulment.

The National Accountability Bureau has filed appeals to increase his sentence to 14 years in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case. It seeks an end to the suspension of Nawaz’s sentence in the Avenfield case too.

In October 2019, the IHC had granted Nawaz bail on humanitarian grounds. In November 2019, the government allowed him to leave the country to get medical treatment in London after his health deteriorated. He hasn’t returned since.

His bail expired in February 2020. An Islamabad court has issued non-bailable arrest warrants against Nawaz as well.

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