LAHORE: The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is considering to quash or suspend the punishment of former prime minister Nawaz Minister under the legal provisions available both with the federal and provincial governments.
Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan told a private TV channel that both the federal and the Punjab government had the powers to quash or suspend the punishment of an accused and offer him a chance to plead his case afresh before a court of law for being ‘wrongly’ sentenced earlier in the case. He said that the provisions might be used to provide relief to the PML-N supremo and others.
He, however, said that Mian Nawaz Sharif, who is in self-exile in London where he had gone on the excuse of medical treatment in November 2019, would take a decision about his homecoming on the basis of his health.
The minister also hinted at amending the constitution and relevant laws, whatsoever, for empowering the presiding officer to administer oath to the prime minister or chief minister, whichever the case may be, soon after his/her election instead of leaving the task to the president or governor, in case of the chief minister.
The need for the step, he said, was felt in the Punjab crisis in which the oath-taking ceremony of Hamza Shehbaz was delayed for weeks despite Lahore High Court orders on one excuse or the other by the governor.
In future, the presiding officer conducting the election of the prime minister or the chief minister would be empowered to administer the oath of office to the winner in the contest, he said.
Responding to another query about wrapping up the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), he said that it would be a politically damaging step. However, the incumbent chairman of NAB would have to go as there was no provision of giving him an extension in service or re-appointing him.
It may be recalled that Nawaz Sharif’s name has been removed from the exit control list (ECL) and he has finally been issued a green passport by the government, led by his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif.
The former prime minister’s new passport with a 10-year validity was processed in the urgent category. As of now, the passport’s status in the immigration and passports department’s system is “active”.
While a controversy over the supposed renewal of his previous diplomatic (red) passport has been raging on for nearly a year, an interior ministry official told Dawn that the former prime minister chose to apply for an ordinary passport, which has now been issued to him.
On December 30, 2020, then-interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had told a press conference that Nawaz Sharif’s diplomatic passport will be cancelled on February 16, 2021.
Though the minister did not give any details, a senior official of the interior ministry told Dawn that Feb 16 was, in fact, the expiry date of Nawaz Sharif’s diplomatic passport. A red passport with a five-year validity had been issued to the PML-N supreme leader on Feb 18, 2016, and the same document was used for his travel to the United Kingdom.
Even before appointing his cabinet, newly-elected prime minister Shehbaz Sharif had ordered the issuance of a diplomatic passport to his elder brother, to enable him to return to the country,
The newly sworn-in Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah also said last week that a diplomatic passport was Nawaz’s Sharif right and would be issued to him. “It is unfortunate that a person who has been prime minister thrice is being deprived of national citizenship,” the interior minister had said.
The PML-N supremo was granted an eight-week bail on medical grounds in October 2019, and a month later, he was allowed to travel abroad for treatment for four weeks — but he is still in London.
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Hussain Nawaz, Hassan Nawaz, Abid Ali, Nasir Butt and other PML-N leaders and supporters performed the Namaz-e-Eid-ul-Fitr at Islamic Centre on Monday. After the namaz, he received and gave greetings other participants.