LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz vice president Maryam Nawaz on Saturday moved the Lahore High Court, seeking removal of her name from the Exit Control List (ECL) and a one-time permission to travel abroad.

“The name of the petitioner has been placed on the ECL without notice and providing an opportunity of hearing,” said Ms Nawaz in a petition filed under Article 199 of the Constitution through Advocate Amjad Pervez.

The federal government through the secretary of interior ministry, director general of the Federal Investigation Agency, director general for Immigration and Passport and chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) are respondents in the petition.

The PML-N leader pleaded that the impugned memorandum by the interior minister about placing her name on the ECL was in violation of her fundamental rights of due process, life, liberty and fair treatment of law guaranteed under the Constitution.

She said her name was put on the ECL on the recommendation of NAB in a mechanical manner and without an application of judicious mind in “contravention of the law and various judgements of the superior courts”.

Questions interior ministry’s memorandum; seeks one-time permission to stay with father for six weeks

The LHC had on Nov 4 granted post-arrest bail to Ms Nawaz in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case. However, it ordered her to surrender her passport to the court to show her bona fide as NAB was of the view that she could flee the country if released on bail. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was also granted bail in the case on medical grounds and a permission to travel abroad initially for four weeks for treatment.

In her petition, Ms Nawaz argued that the fears expressed by NAB did not appeal to reason in view of her past conduct.

She said it was a matter of judicial record that at the time of filing of references by NAB she and her father were in London to inquire after and attend to her late mother Kalsoom Nawaz.

However, she said, she and Mr Nawaz voluntarily returned to the country and faced the trial.

She contended that there was no default in her appearance before the trial court over a period of about one-and-a-half years and she along with her father visited abroad and came back even during the pendency of the trial.

Ms Nawaz pointed out that she and her father volunteered to come back to the country and surrendered before law even after the conviction was announced by the trial court.

“I never remained a public office holder or involved in any case of corruption and misuse of power. Hence placing my name [on the ECL] was without requisite sanction of law,” said the petitioner, asking the court to set aside the impugned memorandum for being “unlawful” and direct the government to remove her name from the list.

She further asked the court to return her passport and allow her to travel abroad, as a one-time permission, for six weeks from the date of her departure.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Anwarul Haq Pannun will take up the petition on Monday.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2019