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The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday issued the interior secretary a notice on a contempt of court petition filed against the Interior Ministry by PPP leader Dr Asim Hussain over not removing his name from the no-fly list.

Dr Asim, in the petition filed earlier this week, requested the apex court to initiate contempt proceedings against the Ministry of Interior for its failure to remove his name from the Exit Control List (ECL) despite a Nov 16 order issued to this effect by the SC.

Dr Asim had requested his name be removed from the ECL so he may be allowed to travel abroad for medical treatment once again.

Dr Asim's lawyer Sardar Latif Khosa told the court on Wednesday that his client's flight ─ which was originally scheduled for Nov 9 and then rescheduled to Nov 21 ─ had been missed, along with his appointment for a medical examination in the United Kingdom scheduled for the same day, as his name was still on the ECL and he was unable to travel abroad.

Justice Mushir Alam, who was hearing the case, noted: "We read in a newspaper that Dr Asim's name had already been removed from the ECL."

However, the PPP leader's lawyer told the court that Dr Asim's name had not been removed from the ECL until Thursday night.

"You people must have done the same thing while your party was in power, which is why it's happening to you now," Justice Alam quipped, which Khosa denied on behalf of his client.

The court subsequently issued a notice to the interior secretary seeking a reply to the petition, and adjourned the case until Nov 29.

According to DawnNews, an anti-terrorism court in Karachi today hearing a case against Dr Asim for allegedly treating and harbouring suspected terrorists, militants and gangsters at his hospital, also granted the PPP leader a no-objection certificate, allowing him to travel abroad from Nov 24 to Jan 6.

Custody, detention and release

Dr Asim Hussain was taken into Rangers custody in August 2015. After spending 19 months in detention, he was released from prison on the orders of the Sindh High Court in March 2017.

He had been booked on the complaint of the paramilitary force for allegedly treating and harbouring suspected terrorists at the North Nazimabad and Clifton branches of his hospital at the behest of some MQM and PPP leaders.

Corruption references had also been filed against the former minister by NAB for allegedly causing massive losses to the national exchequer through corrupt practices.