ISLAMABAD: Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed Tuesday formally announced that the passport of PML-N’s absconder leader Nawaz Sharif would expire at 12 p.m. on February 16, following which the government could issue an Emergency Travel Document (ETD) on his request for travel to Pakistan.
Addressing a news conference here, he said as per the legal obligations, the passport of those who were on the Exit Control List (ECL) could not be renewed.
“Today the passport of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif will be expired. From August 20, 2018, names of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Marryum Nawaz are on the ECL on the request of NAB. The cabinet had also included the name of Marryum on ECL, the passport of a person whose names in the ECL cannot be renewed,” he added. However, the minister said if Muhammad Nawaz wanted to travel to Pakistan, he could be issued an Emergency Travel Document within 72 hours but Nawaz Sharif had not made any such request so far.
The passport of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif will expire on midnight of February 16, who had flown to London on November 19, 2019 on the medical ground. The government had allowed Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad for medical treatment ‘ in the light of the LHC order ‘.
Sheikh Rasheed said one-time permission granted by the Lahore High Court (LHC) had been misused by the PML-N leader.
He further said the LHC had also issued a verdict asking Nawaz Sharif to return to Pakistan but neither he complied it not submitted any reply so far. The minister said Nawaz Sharif had not been stopped to return Pakistan. Marryum Nawaz had said that she would not give any application to remove her name from the ECL, Sheikh Rasheed said, adding “we have not asked for any application, it is up to an applicant to apply or not.” About upcoming Senate elections, he said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf would win the senate election, scheduled to be held on March 3, with majority.
“There will be no surprise, the political and constitutional issues will be solved after Senate Elections” he hoped. He expressed the hope that very important decision of Supreme Court regarding the open and secret ballot was expected before March 3.
The minister said about 150 employees working in the various visa sections for the last 10 years had been transferred. He said the officers who failed to handover charge to newly deputed officials, within 14 days of the orders issuance, his/her services would be terminated. Sheikh Rashid said fee for a ten-year validity passport had been reduced by 50 percent.
The minister asked the applicants to apply for a 10-year validity passport. National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) were issuing as many as100,000 Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs) on daily, he said, adding the authority offices would be opened at all Tehsil level.
He said E-visa service had been started under which as many as 200,000 visas were are being issued daily. He said the applicants would be issued visa within four week after getting clearance from the departments concerned. About Pakistan Democratic Movement’ (PDM), he said, those who had been cursing the present assemblies, were know asking for vote [in Senate elections].
“This is the respect for assemblies and democracy [in opposition parties’ eyes,” he said, adding the elements, who wanted to disturb the democratic system, had been defeated.
Commenting on the opposition parties’ long march towards Islamabad, he said, the government would welcome the PDM’s rally in federal capital but no one would be allowed to violate law and create law order situation. The interior minister said that the incumbent government had recently granted permission to PDM to stage rally in front of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) office. Sheikh Rasheed urged the PDM leadership to delay the long march due to holy month of Ramazan. Replying to a question, the minister said advertisement had been given in national dailies for filling the vacant post of Chairman NADRA, while for the time being its acting charge was with a senior most official to do day-to-day matters.