Abb Takk News

Govt Defers Decision to Exclude Murad, Bilawal from ECL

Islamabad: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday said the federal cabinet has rejected the recommendations of the interior ministry to remove the names of 20 individuals from the Exit Control List (ECL).

He announced the decision while addressing a press conference following the federal cabinet meeting in Islamabad.

The information minister said that the law ministry had informed the cabinet that the Supreme Court’s written order pertaining to the removal of names from the ECL has not been issued as yet.

Chaudhry said a cabinet committee has been formed, which includes Minister for Law and Justice Barrister Dr Farogh Naseem, Minister of State for Interior Shahryar Afridi, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Accountability Shahzad Akbar and the Interior Secretary Azam Suleman Khan. This committee will review the issues pertaining to the 172 names, looking at the roles of each person, following which it will present its recommendations to the cabinet.

The minister added that once the written orders of the SC are issued, the cabinet will also seek the committee’s guidance regarding whether a review appeal of the court order should be submitted or not.

The court had taken up the report of a joint investigation team (JIT) constituted to probe fake bank accounts revolving around a 2015 inquiry into the suspicious transactions when ‘benami’ accounts were identified.

On the recommendations of the JIT, the federal cabinet had in its meeting on Dec 27 last year decided to place the names of 172 individuals on the ECL, including Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Faryal Talpur, Murad Ali Shah, Farooq H. Naek and several other leaders and provincial ministers belonging to the PPP.

But the apex court had asked the federal cabinet to reconsider the decision in its next meeting and decide the matter after due application of mind instead of merely relying on the JIT recommendations.