Shehbaz seeks withdrawal of plea against name on blacklist

Published May 23, 2021
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday moved the Lahore High Court to withdraw his plea challenging the federal government’s decision to place his name on a blacklist. — DawnNewsTV/File
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday moved the Lahore High Court to withdraw his plea challenging the federal government’s decision to place his name on a blacklist. — DawnNewsTV/File

LAHORE: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday moved the Lahore High Court to withdraw his plea challenging the federal government’s decision to place his name on a blacklist and seeking implementation of a court order that gave him one-time permission to go abroad for medical treatment.

A civil miscellaneous app­li­cation filed by Mr Shehbaz’s counsel, Senator Azam Nazir Tarar, contends that the name of the petitioner has been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) through a memorandum issued on May 17. Due to the memorandum, the pending petition and an application may not proceed in its present form, it added.

This fresh application states that reserving his right to seek contempt proceedings against the delinquents, Shehbaz intends to challenge the memorandum about placing him on the ECL. It seeks permission from the court to withdraw the main petition against the placement of his name on the blacklist and a subsequent application for the implementation of the order allowing him a visit abroad.

Justice Ali Baqar Najafi would hear this application on Monday (tomorrow). The next hearing of Shehbaz’s pending petitions is fixed for May 26 when the federal government is supposed to file its written reply as directed by the judge.

Justice Najafi had on May 7 permitted Shehbaz to visit the UK for medical treatment, ruling that the blacklist would not stop him for one time. However, immigration officials at the Lahore airport stopped him from boarding a reserved flight on the pretext that his name was on the Provincial National Identification List, another category of a no-fly list, which was not updated at the time of his boarding.

Shehbaz initially filed a contempt of court petition against officials of the interior ministry and the immigration staff, however, the LHC registrar office did not entertain it, saying contempt petitions did not fall into the category of the cases permitted to be instituted during the enforcement of Covid-19-related standard operating procedures.

Therefore, Shehbaz’s legal team moved the civil miscellaneous application urging the court to get its May 7 order implemented. The application pleaded that the excuse for not permitting Shehbaz to proceed abroad was lame and false. It argued that the respondents with mala fide intention deliberately disobeyed and defied the court’s order.

Following the opposition leader’s fresh request to the court, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Mirza Shahzad Akbar tweeted: “Shehbaz Sharif withdrawal of petition from LHC is proof enough that their earlier legal argument about Blacklist was flawed n he was trying to run away from Pakistan on false pretext. Btw my offer of legal aid lawyers still stands!”

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2021

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