The UK Home Office has rejected a request by PML-N supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for an extension in his visa, the PML-N confirmed on Thursday.
“The UK Home Office has excused itself from further extending Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s visa,” PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said in a statement.
Options for Nawaz Sharif
“Nawaz Sharif’s lawyers have filed the appeal in the British immigration tribunal,” Aurangzeb added.
She said the Home Office’s order would remain “without effect” until a decision on the appeal, and that “Nawaz Sharif can reside in the UK legally until the appeal is decided.
Nawaz has been living in London since November 2019 after he was allowed to leave the country for medical treatment.
According to reports, Nawaz Sharif has been living in Britain on a valid visa. It is not clear when that visa expires but sources said it has a long validity.
However, a non-UK citizen cannot remain in the UK for more than six months at a time. Nawaz had been applying for — and receiving — extensions in his stay till now, when his latest application for extension filed through a lawyer was denied, according to the sources.
If the PML-N supremo’s appeal is turned down by the immigration tribunal, he has the option of filing an appeal in court.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry in a video message said: “There is information that the UK government has denied Nawaz Sharif’s request for extension in his visa. This is welcome news … it was clear that Nawaz Sharif is not unwell and he lied to secure a UK visa, against which he was residing in the country.”
The minister said the Pakistani people and government had urged the British government to “not give refuge to such persons who are involved in billions of rupees worth of corruption”.
He added that the PML-N supremo now had two options — he could either go to the Pakistan high commission and get temporary travel papers to come to Pakistan and fight his legal case, or he could challenge the UK government’s decision.
“If he does challenge, he has no grounds … because he is not unwell,” Chaudhry said. “He is roaming around in the UK, going to restaurants in front of you; so it is apparent that he is not ill … he will lie once again [in the appeal] to the British courts and he may get penalised by the British courts as well.”