Shehbaz Sharif’s name not placed on ECL so far: govt

DailyTimes  |  May 16, 2021

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Saturday said the name of Opposition Leader in National Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Shehbaz Sharif has not been placed on the exit control list (ECL) so far.

“A summary to this effect is lying with the federal cabinet and it is expected to be received by the interior ministry either on Monday or Tuesday,” the minister said in a video message, adding that the interior and law ministries would decide on the summary in accordance with law and the constitution. “So you will have to wait for the summary, after which the law ministry and the interior ministry will take a decision [on the matter],” he said. “The decision will be in accordance with the law, Constitution and Article 25,” he added.

It is to mention here that a sub-committee of the federal cabinet had recommended to place the name of Shehbaz Sharif on the ECL following the recommendation from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The recommendation was conveyed to the federal cabinet on May 12, which will make a final decision into the matter.

However, a TV channel reported that the cabinet has already approved adding Shehbaz Sharif’s name to the ECL on the recommendations of NAB. The report claimed that the approval of the inclusion of Sharif’s name in the no-fly list was given through a circulation summary. After approval, the summary was sent to the interior ministry which will proceed into the matter accordingly.

The interior minister said the names of 14 co-accused with the PML-N leader are already placed on the ECL. “Five members of the Sharif family are absconders in this case and he [Shahbaz Sharif] is Nawaz Sharif’s guarantor,” the minister noted.

He said the opposition leader was not directly flying to London but wanted to go to Qatar, where he was to complete a 15-day quarantine period before flying to the UK. He said that so far, the government has not received any medical report from the former Punjab chief minister.

Earlier this month, the Lahore High Court granted Shehbaz permission to travel abroad once for medical treatment. After obtaining bail, Shehbaz was about to fly to London on May 8 when an FIA team at the airport stopped him from travelling on the grounds that his name had been on the list of persons barred from leaving the country.

In his video message, the federal minister also lauded the Pakistan Army, the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC), the police and other institutions for doing a commendable job in helping to decrease the Covid-19 positivity rate in the country by ensuring compliance with SOPs during the Eid holidays. He also recognised the support of the public in this regard. “In comparison, the Indian variant of the virus has spread to the United Kingdom and is infecting 0.4 million people and claiming 4,000 lives [in India] on a daily basis. In such a situation, I applaud all the country’s institutions for a job well done,” he said.

The interior minister said that Israeli aggression against oppressed and unarmed Palestinians continues for the fifth day. “Muslim countries must take immediate notice of the genocide of Palestinians by Israel, and it is the responsibility of the world nations to stop Israeli aggression and extremism,” he maintained.

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