Govt in a dilemma over Musharraf’s diplomatic passport request: report

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ISLAMABAD: The federal government is in a dilemma over whether a diplomatic passport can be issued to a court absconder after receiving a request from former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf for renewal of his diplomatic passport.

According to a report by a private media outlet, Foreign Office (FO) received a request from Pakistan Consulate in Dubai and forwarded it to the interior ministry seeking its opinion.

The caretaker government of ex-prime minister Justice (r) Mir Hazar Khan Khosa had renewed Musharraf’s diplomatic passport for five years in 2013, which would expire on March 16, 2018.

Under the rules, anyone whose passport’s validity is below six months can’t enter any country. Musharraf was allowed to visit Britain last month provided he produced a return ticket after the Pakistan Consulate told him that renewal of his passport before the visit was not possible as his request needed the federal government’s approval.

Musharraf has been declared an absconder by the courts in four major cases i.e. the treason case, Benazir Bhutto murder case, Lal Masjid operation case and the judges’ detention case. The government will examine whether a diplomatic passport could be issued to a person who has been declared an absconder by the courts.

The government will also examine which passport was issued to the exiled prime minister Nawaz Sharif during the dictatorial regime of Pervez Musharraf.

During the exile period, Nawaz Sharif was given a blue passport (official passport) instead of a diplomatic passport in spite of the fact that he was twice elected as prime minister and under rules, an ex-prime minister is eligible to a diplomatic passport.

The government will also examine the basis on which the caretaker government had issued a diplomatic passport to Pervez Musharraf.