Lawmakers Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir were on Sunday barred from boarding a Kabul-bound flight by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), saying the MNAs could not be allowed to travel abroad because their names were on the Exit Control List (ECL).
Dawar and Wazir were going to Afghanistan to attend President Ashraf Ghani's oath-taking ceremony, who was recently declared the winner of the Afghan elections held last year. The ceremony is scheduled for Monday.
The MNAs, who are leaders of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), were stopped at FIA's immigration counter at the Islamabad airport.
“We were going to Kabul and our flight was scheduled for 3:30pm,” Mohsin Dawar told DawnNewsTV over phone, adding that they were stopped at the airport at 2pm during the immigration process.
An FIA official at the immigration counter also confirmed the development and said: "MNAs Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir were stopped from boarding a Kabul-bound flight as we found their names on the ECL."
PTM supporters and leaders Afrasiyab Khattak, Bushra Gohar, Ahtesham Afghan and Fazal Khan have flown to Kabul to attend the oath-taking ceremony, Dawar said. He added that they did not know they were facing a travel ban and said that they were being "punished for speaking the truth".
Addressing the development, Firdous Ashiq Awan, special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcasting, said that the names of both MNAs are on the ECL and they "did not ask for permission to go to Afghanistan".
She further said that Dawar's statement regarding the event was "misleading and an attempt to defame state institutions". Awan added that if the MNAs submit a request to leave the country, it could be considered "according to law".
Dawar, in a tweet earlier today, had insisted that the FIA had "quite explicitly" told both lawmakers that the "military has barred us from leaving the country".
In November 2018, the MNAs were offloaded from a Dubai-bound plane for the same reason. However, the cabinet had directed the interior ministry to scrap off their names from the ECL.