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Coronavirus
LOW Source: covid.gov.pk
Pakistan Deaths
28,753
824hr
Pakistan Cases
1,286,022
39124hr
0.89% positivity
Sindh
476,233
Punjab
443,310
Balochistan
33,491
Islamabad
107,811
KPK
180,194

ISLAMABAD: Former Prime Minister and Quaid Pakis-tan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Nawaz Sharif will rely on the legal process which may take around a year and a half to extend his stay in the UK and will not seek political asylum or apply for British residency.

This was stated by Mohammad Zubair, spokesperson for Nawaz Sharif, while talking to Business Recorder. He added that the former premier was not considering any other option such as opting for a stay in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or any other Gulf country, and would prefer to return to the country at an “appropriate” time.

“We believe that Nawaz Sharif has the right to appeal [in Immigration Tribunal] and he has already availed this option…it would be followed by his right to appeal in a British court. So, at this time we are availing the legal options and we have no plans to deal with it as a political case,” Zubair said, adding that Nawaz Sharif has neither British residency nor does he intend to apply for one.

UK government rejects Nawaz Sharif's visa extension request

To a question if all the legal options are exhausted what would be his course of action, Zubair said: “If such a situation arises, he [Nawaz] would prefer to return to the country as he did in the past.”

According to Marriyum Aurangzeb, the PML-N spokesperson, Nawaz Sharif will never seek political asylum in the UK, adding that he will legally stay in Britain till the Immigration Tribunal decides on the appeal against the verdict of the Home Department.

She said the request for extension in stay was filed with the Home Department on medical grounds in light of the directions by Nawaz Sharif’s doctors. “This is a routine procedure for anyone who seeks to extend their stay in UK,” she said, adding that Nawaz’s lawyers had already filed an appeal. “Once this right of appeal is practised, the decision of the Home Office does not take effect,” she maintained.

She further contended that the former premier would return to Pakistan only after his treatment is completed and the doctors declare that they are “100 percent” convinced that travelling back to Pakistan would not negatively impact on his health. “Any speculation before the decision of the Immigration Tribunal would be premature. This matter is best left to the British immigration and Nawaz Sharif’s lawyers,” she added.

Nawaz to stay in UK until tribunal’s decision: PML-N

A senior interior ministry official, while talking on condition of anonymity, said that besides the right to appeal in the tribunal followed by right to appeal in a British court if the tribunal’s decision is not favourable, Nawaz Sharif can seek political asylum or invest in Britain or some other country to get residency.

The official confirmed that Nawaz Sharif’s passport has expired and he can only travel to Pakistan with emergency travel documents. “As an exception, Nawaz Sharif can travel to any other country even on an expired passport if the specific country itself invites him by sending a special plane,” he added.

Talking to Business Recorder, senior lawyer Azhar Siddique said that the Pakistani government, under the Citizenship Act and other relevant laws, has the authority to refuse to renew a passport of any citizen but added that under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption the competent forum to approach the relevant UK authorities is the National Accountability Bureau; which, he contented, has not even approached Lahore High Court to get Nawaz Sharif’s bail case fixed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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