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Cabinet directs interior ministry to remove names of Mohsin Dawar, Ali Wazir from ECL

Updated December 20, 2018

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MNAs from North Waziristan Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir had come to know about the ban on their travel when they were offloaded from a Dubai-bound flight last month. — PID/File
MNAs from North Waziristan Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir had come to know about the ban on their travel when they were offloaded from a Dubai-bound flight last month. — PID/File

The federal cabinet on Thursday directed the Ministry of Interior to "immediately" remove names of MNAs Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir from the Exit Control List (ECL), reported Radio Pakistan.

The directives were issued during a meeting of the federal cabinet being chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on Thursday.

The same was confirmed by Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry in a press conference later in the day.

The two lawmakers from North Waziristan were placed on the ECL after a case was registered against them in Swabi. The lawmakers came to know about the ban on their travel abroad on Nov 30 when they were offloaded from a Dubai-bound flight on Peshawar airport. They were travelling to Dubai to participate in a Pakhtun cultural event, but were offloaded from the aircraft of a private airline before departure by the Federal Investigations Agency (FIA) officials.

Both the lawmakers had been detained by the FIA for three days.

FIA Peshawar Director Mirwaiz Niaz had confirmed the arrest, saying the lawmakers' names were on the blacklist and were wanted by the Swabi police.

A day earlier, FIA Director General Bashir Ahmed told the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights that the lawmakers' names were placed on the Provisional National Identification List (PNIL) at the request of the inspector general of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He expressed regret before the committee that the MNAs had not been informed that they were barred from leaving the country.

Swabi case

Earlier in August, both the lawmakers were charged with multiple offences, including rioting and removing the country’s flag from a building after a public meeting in Swabi.

An FIR was registered under different sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, including 123-B (removing national flag from a building), 131 (seducing soldiers for mutiny), 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 153 (provocation to rioting), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

Later, the superintendent of police (investigation), Swabi, had sent a letter to the administration of North and South Waziristan tribal districts asking them to arrest the said leaders as they had been absconding.

In September, a Peshawar High Court (PHC) bench had admitted for hearing a writ petition requesting for quashing of a case registered against the two members of the National Assembly.

Advocate Muhammad Ayaz Khan, who appeared for the petitioner, had contended that the FIR was based on rumours and not facts. He argued that the lawmakers had exercised their fundamental rights of freedom of expression, saying that nothing objectionable had taken place in that public meeting.