KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday directed the interior ministry to strike the name of model Ayyan Ali off the exit control list by Wednesday if it failed to obtain interim order from the Supreme Court against the SHC order that allowed the model to travel abroad.
Interior secretary Arif Ahmed Khan, who was put on notice, appeared before a two-judge bench to seek two-day time for filing a compliance report on the SHC’s earlier order.
He told the judges that the interior ministry had approached the Supreme Court to challenge the June 2 SHC order for removing the name of the model from the ECL.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah expressed displeasure over the non-compliance with the court’s order and warned the interior secretary that he should be ready to face contempt of court proceedings if the court’s orders were not complied with.
A two-judge bench earlier on June 2 directed the interior ministry to strike her name off the exit control list on an application of the model.
The interior ministry on the court’s directions wrote off her name from the ECL, but just after a few hours her name was again included in the list.
The model moved a contempt of court application in the SHC that declared once again the fresh memorandum of the interior ministry illegal asking the interior ministry to move the apex court against the SHC order within seven days.
The interior ministry approached the Supreme Court for a second time to challenge the June 2 SHC order for removing the name of the model from the ECL.
The first time the ministry had come to the Supreme Court was on April 2 when it challenged March 7’s SHC judgement that called for removing the model’s name from the ECL.
Earlier the government had pleaded that Ayyan Ali, arrested on money laundering charges, had deprived her of any discretionary relief by committing a serious offence and suppressing material facts.
The model was arrested on March 14, 2014, at Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad while trying to travel abroad and carrying foreign currency worth $506,800 without permission of the State Bank of Pakistan and without any lawful excuse as to why she was taking the money abroad.
On April 25 while hearing a contempt of court petition filed by Ayyan Ali, the Supreme Court had asked her to approach the SHC for agitating against placement of her name on the ECL for the second time, a few hours after its removal from the list.
Soon after the April 13 Supreme Court judgement of upholding the March 7 SHC order for removing the model’s name from the ECL, her name was removed from the list on April 11. But it was placed again on the list at the request of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
Now in the fresh petition filed through Advocate Faiz-ur-Rehman, the ministry pleaded that the June 2 high court order was not sustainable under the law since the name of the model had been placed on the list in accordance with ECL Rules 2010 and ECL policy notified on Sept 16, 2015.
Ayyan Ali had approached the court in December last year requesting the removal of her name from the ECL.
Her counsel maintained that having her name on the ECL was illegal as authorities had returned her passport.
According to Ayyan Ali, she was required to travel abroad for professional assignments and medical treatment, and since she had been released from jail on bail, her name should be struck off the ECL.
She said the authorities’ decision to disallow her from travelling abroad was a violation of her fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 18 of the Constitution.
A customs court in Nov 2015 indicted the model for attempting to smuggle more than half a million dollars in cash out of the country, to which she has pleaded not guilty.
The model was granted bail in July last year after spending around four months in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail - and after her judicial remand was extended at least 16 times.
The case against the model took a political turn when the airport entry pass of the personal assistant to a former president was cancelled for allegedly trying to facilitate Ayyan’s suspected attempt to smuggle money.
Later in June 2015, a customs official who was allegedly investigating the money laundering case against the model was shot dead.
Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2016