Shehbaz Sharif's name placed on ECL

In review plea, govt contends LHC judge issued ex parte mandatory order without notice

News Desk May 17, 2021


Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced on Monday that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif's name had been added to the Exit Control List (ECL) with the approval from the federal cabinet and completion of legal regulations.

"The relevant record has been updated in this regard," the minister further said in a tweet.

During a press briefing, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said that it would be difficult to bring back Shehbaz if he was allowed to travel abroad.

“Five members of the Sharif family are already on the run and are residing in London,” Rashid said. “Five people have become official witnesses in the case against him. If he was allowed to go abroad, they could influence them.”

According to a notification issued by the interior ministry, the family members and co-accused in the NAB Reference, who are members and associates of Shehbaz are also absconding and residing in the UK.

“The accused may tamper with the evidence or dispose of his assets in the UK,” the notification said, adding that in the past Shehbaz breached his undertaking to the Lahore High Court that he would bring his brother, former premier Nawaz Sharif, back to the country.

Read Govt to appeal against removal of Shehbaz Sharif's name from blacklist

The communiqué further stated that no data was available from which It could be assessed that Shehbaz required medical treatment which is not available in Pakistan.

Appeal for review

Earlier, the federal government contended before the court that it was not justified for the single judge in the chamber of the LHC to pass an ex parte mandatory order without a notice, allowing the respondent to travel abroad.

The respondent, it added, is involved and required in many cases pending before the trial courts. 

"[The] learned single judge in [the] chamber was not justified in law while passing the impugned order without summoning the record; [a] report from the concerned departments or authority was necessary for the just and fair decision of the case."

The judge was not justified in law while passing the impugned order without providing proper opportunity of hearing and granting due time for seeking instructions from the concerned department and authority. 

He was not justified while passing the impugned order and granting the main relief sought in [the] writ petition amounting to allowing the petition, while deciding the application CMA No.2/2021 for grant of interim relief.

The government maintained that the judge was not justified in passing the order when the NAB was not impleaded as [a] party in [the] writ petition, which was necessary, or at least [included as] a proper party in the case.

"The learned single judge in [the] chamber did not consider the fact that the respondent sought his post arrest bail on medical grounds which were not accepted by the Honourable Full Bench of the Lahore High Court."

Yet, it added, travel was allowed on medical grounds without questioning or examining the veracity of the assertion by the respondent," it added.

The government further said that the judge ignored the material fact that the respondent had given [an] undertaking.

On May 11, the National Accountability Bureau decided to approach the Supreme Court to challenge the Lahore High Court's (LHC) decision to grant bail to the PML-N leader.

On April 22, a referee bench of the LHC ruled in favour of granting bail to the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly in assets beyond means and money laundering case, disagreeing with Justice Asjad Javed Ghural’s dissenting note to the decision of Justice Sardar Muhammad Sarfraz Dogar.

A statement issued by NAB read that the anti-graft body’s prosecution team had initiated to prepare an appeal, as per law, keeping in view the “over-sighted or ignored facts” by the three-member bench presented in a 'Corruption Reference No. (22/2020) filed against the accused' in Lahore's accountability court.

"NAB has clarified that the bureau is a national institution which performs its duties under lawful parameters purely in the good faith and interest of the nation and the country, as well, by setting aside any kind of pressure and pressings," it added.

The communique further stated that NAB Chairman Justice Javed Iqbal had issued clear instructions that every inquiry or investigation should be concluded within a designated time period and references be filed in accountability courts based on solid evidence so that corrupt elements could be penalised and punished as per law.

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