Imran, Bushra among dozens barred from travelling abroad

Published May 26, 2023
In this file photo, PTI Chairman Imran Khan (C) arrives to appear at a high court in Lahore on May 15. — AFP
In this file photo, PTI Chairman Imran Khan (C) arrives to appear at a high court in Lahore on May 15. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: PTI Chairman Imran Khan, his wife, Bushra Bibi, and dozens of party leaders and activists have been placed on a no-fly list, sources told Dawn on Thursday.

These names, the sources said, had been put on the Provisional National Identification List (PNIL) — a controversial substitute for the Exit Control List, better known as ECL.

The decision was taken at the request of different institutions of federal and provincial governments, including the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the police.

PTI leaders, former lawmakers and workers have been placed on the list for their alleged involvement in the May 9 riots that erupted across the country after Mr Khan’s arrest, and different corruption cases, official sources said.

In this regard, letters have been sent to all airports and exit points in the country so that none of these people could leave Pakistan, according to an official order from the Ministry of Interior.

Prominent PTI leaders placed on the no-fly list included Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Maleeka Bokhari, Qasim Suri, Asad Qaiser, Murad Saeed, Hammad Azhar, Dr Yasmin Rashid and Mian Aslam Iqbal.

The police, counterterrorism departments, provincial anti-corruption departments, NAB and different intelligence agencies forwarded these names to the federal government to get placed on the no-fly list.

Sources said many PTI leaders had tried to fly abroad in the wake of a recent police crackdown, but they had been stopped on orders of the relevant authorities.

On Tuesday, the Lahore police sent names of more than 700 PTI leaders to the FIA and asked the agency to restrict their foreign travel for a month.

The police requested the FIA to place these names on the no-fly list for their alleged involvement in the May 9 violent protests, in which some military properties were also torched and vandalised.

A day later, on Wednesday, the Rawalpindi district police asked the federal government to place the names of 245 PTI activists, who are in custody of the FIA, on the PNIL.

Thousands of party workers and leaders have been arrested since the riots. Many PTI leaders have gone underground fearing arrest, while some have quit the party.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2023

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