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Federal cabinet approves request to place Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Hamza Shahbaz's names on ECL

Updated April 06, 2019

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Punjab MPAs Hamza Shahbaz, Salman Shahbaz, former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former PSM chairman Moeen Aftab have been barred from travelling abroad. — AP/File
Punjab MPAs Hamza Shahbaz, Salman Shahbaz, former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former PSM chairman Moeen Aftab have been barred from travelling abroad. — AP/File

The federal cabinet on Friday gave approval to place four names — including that of Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shahbaz — on the Exit Control List.

According to sources in the federal government, the names of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Punjab Assembly MPA Salman Shahbaz — who is currently out of the country — and former chairman of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) Moeen Aftab have also been placed on the ECL after the federal cabinet approved of the move through circulation.

All four names have been placed on the ECL on the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) request, the source said.

Meanwhile, the name of former finance minister Miftah Ismail has been placed on the 'stop list' while the approval for his name to be placed on the ECL is awaited, interior ministry officials told DawnNewsTV.

According to interior ministry officials, Ismail was scheduled to fly to London from Karachi today. The relevant authorities informed the former finance minister regarding the development.

NAB is probing Hamza for allegedly owning assets beyond means. He, along with his brother Salman, is also accused of using Rs200 million from public funds to build a bridge linking to the family's sugar mills. The money was approved by then chief minister Shahbaz Sharif.

A NAB team had arrived in Model Town earlier today to arrest Hamza, but returned after the Lahore High Court issued an order barring the watchdog from taking the PML-N leader in custody.

Abbasi is accused of awarding a 15-year contract for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal against the rules when he was the petroleum minister in former premier Nawaz Sharif's cabinet. The case was closed by NAB in 2016 but was reopened in 2018.

Aftab is being investigated for alleged embezzlement of Rs 26 billion in PSM funds and Ismail is being probed in connection with the LNG corruption case.

NAB has also requested the government to place the name of the Secretary of the Sindh government's land utilisation department, Aftab Ahmed Memon, on the no-fly list. Memon is named in the fake accounts case.