LONDON: Former Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has become stateless after Pakistan’s federal government reportedly cancelled his diplomatic passport.
The cancellation of the passport means that Ishaq Dar is in London without a travel document and unable to travel to Pakistan to comply with the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s deadline for him to make appearance before him and for that matter before any other court.
Ishaq Dar and his wife were issued diplomatic passports – a legal entitlement – after surrendering their blue passports when he became Leader of the Opposition in the Senate of Pakistan in 2012 and continued to have the same when he resigned in June 2013 as Opposition Leader and took oath as Federal Minister.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office has said that Ishaq Dar was bound to surrender his and wife’s diplomatic passports within 30 days of ceasing office as the Federal Finance Minister and that his passport was cancelled over non-compliance.
However, Dar requested the ministry to issue him and his wife blue passports so that they could surrender their diplomatic passports but Dar’s request has not been entertained till date.
A letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was delivered to the Lahore residence of Ishaq Dar asking him to surrender his and spouse passports. It’s understood that many other ministers and officials holding red passports from the previous PMLN government were also asked to do the same.
On August 5, Dar replied to the ministry of Foreign Affairs and informed that it wasn’t possible for him and his wife to surrender their diplomatic passports unless they were provided alternate official passports, for which they are entitled to.
Ishaq Dar told the ministry that since he was unable to travel to Pakistan because he was undergoing medical treatment in London and sent to the ministry notarized letters from his doctor – duly attested by Foreign Ministry of UK – confirming that his medical treatment was continuing.
Ishaq Dar wrote to the ministry that he and his wife will be unable to surrender their diplomatic passport “prior to the issuance of official passports in lieu of the diplomatic passports”.
He requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “to direct the directorate general immigrations and passports to instruct the High Commission of Pakistan in London to take the biometrics” of himself and his spouse for the issuance of official passports.