ISLAMABAD: The government on Saturday cancelled the diplomatic passports of nine PTI leaders and the Awami Muslim League (AML) chief, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.
The PTI leaders whose passports have been revoked include Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, Pervez Khattak, Azam Swati, Ali Amin Gandapur, Ali Muhammad Khan, Zartaj Gul, Farrukh Habib and Aon Abbas Bappi.
Former interior minister Sheikh Rashid and the nine PTI leaders are among those who are still standing with embattled PTI chief Imran Khan and have not left the party.
The list does not include the names of Fawad Chaudhry, Shireen Mazari and Ali Zaidi — the former members of Imran Khan’s cabinet who have said their goodbyes. It was not immediately clear if they also held diplomatic passports or not.
Red diplomatic passports, approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are issued in Pakistan to the dignitaries of the state, diplomats and other entitled categories in pursuance of Para 45 of Part I of the Passport and Visa Manual, 2006.
Machine-readable diplomatic passports are processed and issued by the headquarters of the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports in Islamabad based on an authorisation issued by the foreign ministry.
Citizens entitled to diplomatic passports include the country’s president, the prime minister, the Senate chairperson, the National Assembly speaker, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, provincial governors, chief ministers, federal ministers and ministers of state, and the attorney general for Pakistan.
Others include former presidents and prime ministers; spouse and dependent children of former prime ministers, Senate chairpersons and National Assembly speakers; special assistants to the prime minister; foreign secretaries; and all functionaries of the federal government with the status of minister or minister of state.The chairperson of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force hold diplomatic passports as long as they hold the offices.
The prime minister can authorise the issuance of diplomatic passports in special cases. Except for the president, prime minister, Senate chairperson and the National Assembly speaker, all other holders of diplomatic passports are supposed to surrender their passports within 30 days after leaving their respective offices.
Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2023