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Ex-minister seeks removal of name from ECL

Updated September 24, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Former federal minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi has filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to lift the ban on his foreign visits.

Mr Kazmi cited the recent precedents in which the superior courts removed the names of supermodel Ayyan Ali and former minister Dr Asim Hussain from the exit control list (ECL).

He said if Dr Asim and Ms Ali could be allowed to proceed abroad why he could he not travel abroad.

Hamid Saeed Kazmi says if Dr Asim Hussain and Ayyan Ali can be allowed to travel abroad, why can’t he

Mr Kazmi was acquitted of corruption charges by an IHC bench in March this year. In April, however, the FIA challenged his acquittal in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

In the petition filed with the IHC, Mr Kazmi argued that he could not perform Haj or deliver lectures outside Pakistan since his name was included in the ECL. He even could not proceed abroad for medical treatment.

The petitioner cited the federation through the secretary interior, the director general Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the state as respondents.

The petition said Mr Kazmi was falsely implicated for irregularities in the Haj operations 2010, and a special judge central convicted him on June 3, 2016. Against the judgment, he filed an appeal with the IHC that was allowed on March 8, 2017, acquitting him of the charges.

It contended that during the investigation of the case the FIA had directed the revenue authorities to hold in abeyance the transfer of property of the petitioner prohibiting him from its sale/purchase or disposal.

According to the petitioner, this order by the FIA was passed without a lawful authority and the assent of a court.

The FIA authorities also froze the petitioner’s Pakistani and foreign currency bank accounts in Islamabad and Multan. Furthermore, the name of the petitioner was also placed in the ECL.

It said the former religious minister submitted several applications to the respondents for unfreezing his assets and deleting his name from the ECL but they paid no heed to his requests. The name of another co-accused in the case, Rao Shakeel, was removed from the ECL.

The petitioner contended that he had to visit abroad to deliver lectures and also wanted to perform Haj this year that he could not due to his name being on the ECL.

The petitioner also needed medical treatment abroad but due to the ban on his travel abroad he could not leave the country.

He requested the court to direct the authorities concerned to remove his name from the ECL.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2017