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Pakistan govt issues diplomatic passport to Nawaz Sharif, paves way for return: Report

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gestures as he speaks to media after appearing before a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in Islamabad, Pakistan June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood - RTS176OF

The Pakistan government has issued a diplomatic passport to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been living in self-imposed exile in London since 2019.

According to reports in Pakistani media, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has issued a diplomatic passport to Nawaz Sharif for a period of five years, sources in his family said. This will enable him to return to his country.

Interestingly, Nawaz Sharif is the elder brother of current prime minister Shehbaz Sharif, and also the supreme leader of the ruling party, PML-N. The two brothers met in London on Thursday, flanked by a coterie of top ministers.

Pakistan’s interior ministry had issued an ordinary passport to the three-time premier earlier this year. On the other hand, Nawaz claims that he had already acquired a diplomatic passport after his own had expired in February 2021, and was not renewed by the Imran Khan-led regime.

Several corruption cases had been launched by the government of ex-prime minister Imran Khan against the 72-year-old supremo of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz since his ouster from office by the Supreme Court in July 2017 in the Panama Papers case.

In November 2019, Nawaz Sharif left for London after the Lahore High Court granted him a four-week permission allowing him to go abroad for his treatment.

He had given an undertaking to the Lahore High Court to return to Pakistan, citing his record to face the process of law and justice within four weeks or as soon as he is declared healthy and fit to travel by doctors.

After three years in Britain, Nawaz Sharif may be ready to return to Pakistan. Earlier this month, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz dropped hints that the former PM would return to the country as “no case is now left” against him.