Interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Sunday announced major changes in workings of the Exit Control List (ECL), including the removal of some 5,000 names and making it the interior ministry's prerogative to include anyone's name in the list.
"Some 8,000 names are on the list [ECL] which was being blatantly used to malign people," Nisar said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Sunday, Express News reported.
"I hereby announce to remove some 5,000 names from the ECL except those belonging to proscribed organisations, while the Black List, which was being run under the Passports Directorate and contained 52,000 names, will seize to exist from this point onward."
As an alternative to the Black List, the interior minister said, a passport list is being generated to target those individuals using two passports and resorting to illegal use with the help of these.
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We will have the assistance of the NAB and FIA, he said, adding that their recommendations will also be closely monitored by the interior ministry.
"The decision of including a name into the ECL will also depend on the recommendations of the Supreme Court, high courts and defence forces, while a permanent review committee of the interior will also work to this end," he said. "This way we have institutionalised the entire process."
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He also said that a time span of three years will be allowed to justify the presence of anyone's name on the list. Upon failure to do so, the name in question will be removed.
"Whosoever gets their name on the list will be notified and will be given a month's time to prove the inclusion wrong."
Nisar said that the policy has been adopted after the government had discovered that the some names were put on the list as early as year 1985.
Kidnapped Chinese tourist rescued
Nisar said intelligence agencies have rescued a Chinese tourist kidnapped last year in an area close to insurgency-prone regions.
The unidentified man was abducted in May last year from Daraban in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa near the border with Balochistan province and the South Waziristan tribal district, both of which are rife with insurgents.
"The Chinese tourist was recovered Saturday night after a successful operation and is to be handed over to the Chinese embassy in Islamabad anytime soon," Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a press conference in Islamabad, without giving details.
Officials said the man was apparently travelling through the area by bicycle when he was seized last year.
A faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had said it was behind the abduction. But Nisar did not disclose from where and under what circumstances the tourist was rescued.
China is one of Pakistan's main allies, investing billions of dollars in infrastructure projects including nuclear power plants, dams and roads.
China in April announced it would invest $46 billion in infrastructure, energy and transport projects as part of an ambitious project dubbed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AFP)
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