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SC Orders Removal of Bilawal, Murad Names from ECL

Islamabad (January 07, 2019): The Supreme Court while hearing the fake accounts case on Monday ordered that the names of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Shah be removed from both the exit control list and the joint investigation team’s report on a probe into the case.

The court also ordered that the case is forwarded to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and directed the anti-corruption watchdog to wrap up its investigation within two months.

The top court was hearing a suo motu case regarding a delay into a 2015 Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) probe into money laundering of billions of rupees via fake bank accounts. Both Bilawal and Shah were named in the report submitted to the top court last month by the JIT which was tasked to probe the case.

Several bigwigs, including former president Asif Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, former president of Summit Bank Hussain Lawai and Omni Group’s Anwar Majeed, were all nominated in the case. Property tycoon Malik Riaz, his son-in-law Zain has also been included in the probe.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar today grilled the state prosecutor over why the government had decided to place Bilawal on the no-fly list after the JIT recommended the placement of 172 people named in its report on the ECL.

“The JIT will have to clarify one thing: Why did it involve Bilawal in this matter?” Justice Nisar asked. “What did Bilawal do?”

The chief justice wondered if the PPP chairman’s name had been included upon “someone’s directives”.

He asked state prosecutor Faisal Siddiqui if the reason behind Bilawal’s inclusion in the investigation was to “defame someone”.He also expressed annoyance at the placement of the Sindh chief minister’s name on the ECL.

Subsequently, the court ordered the removal of Bilawal and Shah’s names from the ECL and JIT report, and sent the case to NAB, directing it to conclude its investigation within two months.

The top judge also ordered to exclude the names of Farooq H Naek and Asim Mansoor, the attorney general’s brother, from the ECL.

In his remarks, the chief justice said “angels didn’t open the accounts” someone has to be held responsible for opening the fake accounts, therefore, the issue was being sent to NAB.

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