The Pakistan government has announced that it will cancel former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistani passport. In an unprecedented move, where a Pakistani government has cancelled a former Prime Ministers passport, thus revoking his national identity.
In an official address, Pakistans Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said: We have decided to cancel Nawaz Sharif’s passport on February 16. IWhen Nawaz Sharifs Pakistani passport will expire, leaving him without a valid travel document.
Sharif, who is currently in the UK receiving medical treatment.
Adviser to the 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 leader and former Prime Minister of Pakistan, after his passport expires, would be to come back to Pakistan and appear in court to face the cases against him, Awan said.
So the govt is to cancel #NawazSharif's #passport? Well… does it even have the authority to do that?! If it's due to Panama Case/ appeals, the issue is sub-judice. The apex court is all in all. #PTI govt needs to limit itself to the #ECL game – its only strong hold after #NAB.
— Hina Mahar Nadeem (@HinaMaharN) December 31, 2020
Once a country withdraws or cancels its passport, the alien no longer holds valid travel or visa document. The UK doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Pakistan but once his passport is cancelled, it makes Pakistan’s petition for Nawaz’s deportation stronger.
While several ministers have made statements, it’s understood that Prime Minister Imran Khan will make a further announcement as he continues his personal war against the Sharif family.
By cancelling Nawaz Sharif’s passport, Imran Khan is ensuring the former prime minister can not stand or lead any political opposition to him. In the political landscape, Nawaz Sharif and PML-N are seen as the only real threat to Imran Khan’s government.
This week the PTI government also announced it had arrested one of Nawaz Sharif’s former cabinet ministers.
The feud: Imran Khan v Nawaz Sharif
Since Imran Khan was elected as Pakistans Prime Minister, he has targeted and sought to dismantle to the political powerhouse that is the Sharif Family. He has launched investigations and accountability cases against the wealth accumulated by the Billionaire who he sees as his main challenger for re-election.
In October this year, Prime Minister Imran Khan said in an interview he would contact his British counterpart Boris Johnson to talk about Sharif’s extradition.
Pakistan’s information minister told media earlier this month that Islamabad had started the legal process to reach an extradition treaty with Britain to pave the way for the UK to hand over Sharif.
There is no doubt that Imran Khan is fearful of the powerhouse that PML-N party has rooted in Lahore and one that dominates the Punjab province. Imran Khan has been sledging away attempting to take down the party leaders, including instigating investigations on Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz, including arresting her and Shabaz Sharif, Nawaz Sharif’s brother and current party leader, but failing to turn any accusations into convictions.
It is unclear how this feud started between Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif, who at one time had a very cordial relationship. In fact, When Imran Khan launched his cancer hospital charity he approached Nawaz Sharif on multiple accounts. The Sharif family donated the vast land to his foundation so he could start his project.
This could be instigated by the Pakistan Army
In September, Nawaz Sharif launched a direct attack on the Pakistan Army, Who has a reputation for interfering in Pakistani Politics. In his speech, Nawaz Sharif accused the Pakistani army of plotting his downfall through violent and disruptive protests which were headed by Imran Khan, in 2014.
Then through ‘manufactured judicial cases, which eventually led to his disqualification in 2017 on charges of corruption. Sharif claims, those charges were forged by the Army and the Army had strongarmed the Judicaciry in delivering a favourable verdict.
Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party is currently holding nationwide rallies alongside other opposition parties, demanding that Khan step down as prime minister.
Nawaz Sharif has a history with the Pakistani Army he had previously been ousted in a military coup by General Pervez Musharraf in 1999.
As a result of the Pakistani Army stronghold in the country, Pakistan’s eleven main opposition parties have combined to form the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM). The PDM has appointed Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (F) chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, as its head. A united front against the frequency if anti-corruption cases that are levied against them and the control the Pakistani Army has on the political systems and financial institutions in the country.
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