LAHORE: As Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz vice president Maryam Nawaz on Saturday approached the Lahore High Court again with a fresh petition claiming that the government had not yet intimated her about the fate of her representation regarding the travel restrictions on her even after the deadline set by the court, the law ministry announced that the recommendation had been finalised, but didn’t disclose the decision.

A two-judge LHC bench comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Anwarul Haq Pannun will on Monday take up her petition seeking removal of her name from the Exit Control List (ECL) and one-time permission to visit London to inquire after her ailing father and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

According to the statement issued by a law ministry spokesperson on Saturday, Minister for Law and Justice Farogh Nasim is likely to submit the recommendation before the federal cabinet’s next meeting on Tuesday as to whether applicant be kept on the ECL or allowed to go to the UK to inquire after her ailing father.

She had filed petition before the LHC seeking removal of her name from the ECL. The court, however, converted her petition into a representation and referred it to a sub-committee of the federal cabinet on Dec 9 with the directive to decide the matter within a week.

Law minister likely to place subcommittee’s recommendation before cabinet on Tuesday

In her fresh petition, Ms Nawaz stated that the government initially remained non-responsive and took up the matter after persistent requests by her counsel for hearing on Dec 18 wherein all concerned including representatives of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) were summoned and heard. But she said she had not been yet intimated about the fate of her representation despite the lapse of the time given by the court.

Ms Nawaz contended that it was a known fact that her father former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was allowed to go abroad on account of his critical health condition. She said her father had not regained his health so far as he was still undergoing diagnosis process as per a medical report filed with the court after duly attested by Pakistan high commission in London.

The PML-N leader said she was in dire need to go abroad to attend to and inquire after the health of her ailing father. “Serving one’s father is not only a religious obligation but the same also inheres in human nature, indeed, the same is also universally recognised norm but unfortunately, it appears that the respondent government is swayed over by its political rhetoric,” the petitioner said.

She argued that her name had been placed on the ECL without notice and providing any opportunity of hearing. She said the impugned memorandum issued on the recommendations of the NAB was violative to her fundamental rights of due process, life, liberty, treatment in accordance with law and fair trial guaranteed by the Constitution.

Ms Nawaz said the so-called recommendations by NAB had been acted upon in a mechanical manner and without judicious application of mind in contravention of the law declared by superior courts. “I never remained a public office holder or involved in any case of corruption and misuse of power. Hence placing my name was without requisite sanction of law,” said the petitioner, requesting the court to set aside the impugned memorandum for being unlawful and direct the government to remove her name from the ECL.

The LHC had on Nov 4 last granted post-arrest bail to Ms Nawaz in Chaudhry Sugar Mills, however, ordered her to surrender her passport with the court to show her bonafide as the NAB had a view that she could flee the country if released on bail.

A separate application for the return of her passport was also pending with the court.

Earlier, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan told a press conference that the government might not accept her request. However, she explained that the government would decide the matter based on the recommendations of a sub-committee of the law ministry.

Malik Asad from Islamabad also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, December 22nd, 2019