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The Supreme Court on Tuesday disposed off a contempt of court petition filed by PPP leader Dr Asim Hussain against the Interior Ministry.

On November 22, Dr Asim had filed the petition after the ministry failed to remove his name from the Exit Control List (ECL) as directed by the apex court on November 16. The PPP had sought the removal of his name from the list so that he may travel abroad for medical treatment.

A two-member bench of the apex court ─ headed by Justice Mushir Alam, and including Justice Qazi Faez Isa ─ was conducting a hearing on Dr Asim's petition during which the interior secretary reassured the bench that a notification issued by the ministry allowing Dr Asim to travel for one month will be amended in keeping with the court's orders.

The secretary told the court that the amended notification will reflect orders for the removal of the PPP leader's name from the no-fly list.

The SC directed that removal of Dr Asim's name from the list should remain intact until he completes his medical treatment abroad. The court ordered that further allowances for travel will be made at the discretion of the high courts or the trial court.

During the hearing, the court questioned the interior secretary regarding non-compliance with the court's order.

"We had ordered the removal of Dr Asim's name from the ECL," Justice Isa said. "Was Dr Asim's name removed in keeping with the court's orders?"

"Do you want the court to interfere in the government's domains?" Justice Isa asked the interior secretary.

Dr Asim, who was granted permission to travel by the SC, the anti-terrorism courts and accountability court lats week, departed for London on November 24, vowing to return after the treatment “to play an active role in politics”.

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.