LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday sought written replies from the federal government and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on a petition by PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz seeking removal of her name from the Exit Control List (ECL) and one-time permission to travel abroad.

At the outset of the hearing, Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar submitted on behalf of the petitioner that the government was previously directed by the court on Dec 9 to decide the matter within seven days. However, he said, the government took more than a month to take any decision and the petitioner was informed the other day that her representation had been rejected by the federal cabinet. He said no specific reason had been furnished by the government.

Additional Attorney General Ishtiaq A. Khan said the federal cabinet decided that the petitioner would not be allowed to go abroad. He argued that the petition had become infructuous after the decision by the cabinet.

The bench comprising Justice Muhammad Tariq Abbasi and Chaudhry Mushtaq Ahmad adjourned further hearing till Jan 21 and directed the NAB to submit detailed replies. The bench also asked the government to explain delay in deciding the representation of the petitioner.

In her petition, Ms Nawaz contended that it was a known fact that her father was allowed to go abroad on account of his critical health. 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 court after attested by the Pakistan High Commission in London.

The PML-N leader pleaded that she was in a dire need to go abroad to attend to and inquire after her ailing father. She sought one-time permission to travel abroad.

Earlier, the NAB had opposed the petition and return of passport to Ms Nawaz which she had surrendered to court when post-arrest bail was granted to her in Chaudhry Sugar Mills case. It said the petitioner’s brothers and other members of the family were already in London to look after her father.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2020