‘Bank loan default does not justify exit ban’


Express July 29, 2010

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday accepting petitions of two businessmen for removing their names from the Exit Control List held that there was no justification for putting the names of loan defaulters on the list considering the loan were securitised against their property.

Justice Muhammad Khalid Mahmood Khan held that the loans were advanced on mortgaged property and as such the recovery of the loans did not require physical presence of the borrowers. Therefore, placing their names on the ECL was not justified.

Petitioners, Munir Ahmad Bhatti of Dynam Textiles Limited and Sheharyar Awais of Angora Textile Mills, had sought removal of their names from the ECL.

The petitioners’ counsel Shahid Ikram Siddiqui said that the Interior Ministry on a request from the Bank of Punjab had put the petitioners name on the ECL. He said that this action was in violation of the Article 15 of the Constitution, which does not allow any curbs on liberty of a citizen. He said the bank could not seek such restriction on accord of default as loans are advanced against security and the bank did not risk losing their money.

A deputy attorney general and counsel for the bank, while opposing these petitions, submitted that the petitioners were not returning the money loaned to them and their names were placed in the ECL as a precaution.

After hearing the arguments the judge accepted the petitions and ordered the interior ministry to remove the petitioners’ names from the ECL.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2010.

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