Exit Control List: Interior Ministry abuses its authority, observes court

Businessman set free to travel abroad.

Zeeshan Mujahid August 24, 2011

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has hauled up the Federal Ministry of Interior for “abusing and misusing” its power by mechanically putting a businessman’s name on the Exit Control List.

On Tuesday, an irked division bench comprising Chief Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Imam Bux Baloch rejected comments filed by the ministry in a petition filed by importer-exporter and consultant Saeed Ahmed Memon. His name was put on the ECL, preventing him from travelling outside Pakistan.

The routine comments already on record are of no use and show how the Ministry of Interior abuses and misuses its authority and the law. The bench went on to note that according to the comments under section 2 (1) of the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance of 1981, the federal government may, by order, prohibit any person or class of persons from leaving Pakistan. Such an authority is not arbitrary, noted the bench. More particularly, after the insertion of section 24-A to the General Clauses Act and Section 19-A to the Constitution of Pakistan, the ministry is under a constitutional obligation or duty to inform the person concerned of the reasons and “is required to exercise its discretion with due diligence and independence”.

In this case, the ministry acted mechanically, the bench held in its order, striking off the impugned order and setting the petitioner at liberty to travel abroad if not required in any other case.

The petitioner was allegedly in a fix over a finacinal dispute with another private party.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th,  2011.


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