Thursday May 13 2021

Approval granted: Shehbaz Sharif’s name added to ECL

  • PML-N President cannot leave country as his name is being placed on ECL.
  • Ministry of Interior to issue notification in this regard tomorrow, sources from the Interior Ministry said.
  • NAB had requested the government to place the PML-N leader on the no-fly list.
  • Shehbaz was stopped from flying abroad last week.

ISLAMABAD: The Interior Ministry has been directed to add PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif to the Exit Control List (ECL) after the approval from the Federal Cabinet on Thursday.

According to Ministry of Interior sources, a notification related to the decision will be issued tomorrow.

Sources had earlier told Geo News that the ministers gave go ahead through a circulation summary on the request of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

A sub-committee of the federal cabinet had recommended including Shahbaz Sharif to the ECL.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad to announce the development on Wednesday, Minister for Interior Shaikh Rasheed had said that the PML-N president may petition for a review of the decision within 15 days.

He had said the ministry will make a decision within 90 days of receiving a request for review, adding that the PML-N leader may appear in person, if he so wishes, to make the request.

Speaking in greater detail about Shahbaz's name being placed on a "blacklist", Rasheed had said that it was not the case at all.

"The court's decision came with regard to a blacklist. Shahbaz Sharif was not on a blacklist. He was [...] under an order of May 7, 2021," he said, without elaborating any further.

The interior minister had said that there are three lists used to prevent someone from travelling abroad: one is the blacklist, into which someone's name is included by the Passport Office; the second is Provincial Identification List (PNIL), into which someone's name is added by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA); and the third is the Exit Control List (ECL) into which the federal cabinet has the authority to put someone's name.

Rasheed had said that the interior ministry "received no request (for permission to travel)" and "nothing stating medical grounds", whereas past requests had cited medical grounds.

Shehbaz stopped from leaving abroad

It should be noted that on May 7, the LHC had released Shahbaz Sharif on bail in a case pertaining to assets beyond means.

Later, the court also allowed him to go abroad for eight weeks on medical grounds.

However, Shahbaz Sharif was offloaded on Saturday at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport from a Doha-bound flight by the immigration officials as his name was on the provincial identification list (PNIL).

The PML-N president was told he could not leave the country until the system was updated.

The federal government had also announced to file a petition against the permission granted to him to leave for abroad.

Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had said that Shahbaz’s guarantee could not be accepted as he had earlier given assurances about former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's return but nothing became of that.