Shahbaz moves LHC against name on ECL

Updated March 01, 2019

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Shahbaz terms the ban on his travel a violation of his fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.— APP/File
Shahbaz terms the ban on his travel a violation of his fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.— APP/File

LAHORE: Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif has approached the Lahore High Court challenging the federal government’s decision of placing him on Exit Control List (ECL).

In a writ petition filed through Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar, the leader of opposition terms the ban on his international travel a violation of his fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

He states that the right to international travel besides right to liberty is also an integral part of right to life and right to meaningful, satisfying and purposeful life.

Sharif pleads that the impugned memorandum of Feb 21, whereby his name was placed on the ECL, was issued in an arbitrary manner as well as the same was issued against the law and facts.

He complains that no notice or opportunity of hearing has been afforded to him before putting him on the ECL. He says the impugned decision was taken without any justifiable material, upon reasons best known to the government and also in a non-transparent manner.

The PML-N president further states the impugned memorandum not only fails in disclosing valid and correct reasons for its issuance but is also void for punishing him unheard. He contends that being leader of opposition in National Assembly and head of a political party, he requires to travel within and outside the country.

Therefore, he asks the court to set aside the impugned memorandum of the government and order removal of his name from the ECL.

The federal cabinet had approved placing Mr Sharif on the ECL after the high court had granted him bail in two NAB cases against him including Ashiana Housing Scheme and Ramzan Sugar Mills.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan will take up the petition on Monday (March 4).

Meanwhile, the same bench on Thursday issued notice to the NAB on an application of Mr Sharif about non-provision of copies of the witnesses’ statements recorded in the trial court against him.

Sharif’s counsel argued that a request had been made to the trial court for the provision of the copies but their application was rejected without any reason. He said proceedings of the trial could not be held in a fair manner unless copies of the statements were provided to the accused. The bench issued a notice to the NAB for March 4.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2019