Senate panel passes ECL amendment bill 2018

The bill suggests that govt will need to provide solid reasons to place someone's name on the list

News Desk December 31, 2018

The Exit Control List amendment bill, 2018, was passed with a simple majority by the Senate Standing Committee for Interior on Monday.

Senator Rehman Malik presided the session of the standing committee, during which Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Raza Rabbani presented the ECL amendment bill 2018. The interior ministry opposed the bill, however, it was approved by the standing committee with a majority.

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The bill will be sent to the parliament and if passed by both the upper and lower house it will be forwarded to the president for approval.

According to the bill, the federal government needs to provide solid reasons to place someone's name on the ECL and in case of an appeal, the federal government will be responsible to submit a reply within 15 days. If the government doesn't submit a reply, the decision to place the name on the ECL will be considered void.

Raza Rabbani also presented recommendations which stated that the person whose name is being placed on the ECL should be notified 24 hours in advance and that the interior secretary will not have the authority to place the name on the ECL.

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"Granting approval authority to any public office holder is illegal. The approval authority of the ECL should rest with the federal cabinet," the bill stated.

Senator Rehman Malik stated that "we won't let anyone meddle in the ECL," adding that names will not be placed on the list out of an individual’s will, but rather in accordance with the law.

“One person is left out of the list, while another is placed on it. Why weren't those people placed on the list against whom the National Accountability Bureau has initiated inquiries,” he said adding that they will not allow ECL to be misused, and an infringement of individual's basic rights.

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