Suspects on ECL can argue in courts, says law minister

Farogh Naseem says person’s version not required before putting name on list

Our Correspondent December 29, 2018
Barrister Farogh Naseem. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: As the names of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and 168 other people were placed on the Exit Control List (ECL), Minister for Law and Justice Farogh Naseem on Friday said under the law it was not mandatory to hear the suspect out before placing his/her name on the list.

“The people, who are named in the joint investigation team’s (JIT) report in the fake bank accounts case, will get the opportunity to defend themselves in the courts,” said the law minister while talking to the media after attending a seminar on ‘Justice AR Cornelius: Services and Contributions to Justice System of Pakistan’.

“The names of only those people are included in the list who are involved in different cases and it is suspected that they will not return if they travelled abroad,” said Naseem.

Elaborating on the procedure, he said recommendations of the departments concerned to place someone, even a lawmaker, on the ECL were submitted to the federal cabinet by the interior ministry.

To a question, the minister said the appearance of contents of the report in the media would not affect the case proceedings.

Fake accounts case: Govt to placeZardari, Bilawal & others on ECL

To another question, he said the name of former minister Khawaja Asif had not come under discussion during the federal cabinet meeting on Thursday.

The government had announced after the meeting that the 172 names mentioned in the fake accounts case in light of the JIT report would be added to the ECL.

Be ready for a long fight, Zardari warns PTI

The list also includes the names of Faryal Talpur, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and former CM Qaim Ali Shah.

The move comes days after the JIT led by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director Najaf Mirza submitted its findings before a three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar. The bench is hearing a suo motu case pertaining to money laundering of billions of rupees through fake bank accounts.

According to an order issued by the SC registrar, Zardari, Talpur and others named in the JIT report have been directed to submit replies by December 31.


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