Sunday May 23 2021
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Shahbaz Sharif to challenge govt's ECL move in Islamabad High Court

PML-N leader Shahbaz Sharif speaks. Photo: File

  • Sharif to withdraw earlier petitions filed against govt at the LHC.
  • Decision made on technical reasons, says Sharif's counsel. 
  • Withdrawal of petition shows Sharif attempted to flee the country on a false pretext, says Shahzad Akbar. 

LAHORE/ISALAMABAD: PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif will challenge the government's decision to include his name on the no-fly list next week at the Islamabad High Court, as per a report published in The News. 

The leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly had sought to withdraw his petitions filed at the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Saturday. Sharif had filed the petitions against the government for placing his name on the ECL. 

A civil miscellaneous application, filed by Sharif’s counsel Senator Azam Nazir Tarar, contended that the name of the petitioner had been included in the ECL through a memorandum, issued on May 17 last. It said that due to the memorandum, the pending petition and an application might not be proceeded in its present form.

The application stated that reserving his right to seek contempt proceedings against those not implementing the orders, Sharif intended to challenge the memorandum of putting his name on the ECL. It sought permission from the court to withdraw the main petition against the government's decision to include his name on the ECL, and a subsequent application for implementation of the order allowing him a visit abroad.

The PML-N leader's petition will be heard by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi. The next hearing of Sharif's pending petitions is fixed for May 26 when the government is expected to file its written reply.

The PMLN president has decided that the contempt application would not be withdrawn against the authorities responsible for stopping him from flying abroad in the last week of April, even after permission was granted by the LHC. 

Shehbaz was stopped by the authorities concerned at Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore when he reached there to board a Doha-bound flight. He was set to proceed to London from Doha after a 15-day quarantine period in the Qatari capital. 

Speaking to The News, Sharif's counsel said the decision to withdraw the petition had been made due to technical reasons. He said the decision to challenge the federal government's decision to place Sharif’s name on the ECL for political reasons has already been made. The mode of challenge would be decided in a couple of days.

The government had completed the process of placing the PML-N president's name on the ECL during the Eid holidays. 

The government reacted to the PML-N leader's move to withdraw petition he had earlier filed.

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Barrister Mirza Shahzad Akbar Saturday said Sharif’s withdrawal of the petition showed he had attempted to flee the country on false pretext.

In a tweet, he said the withdrawal of the petition also proved that the legal arguments presented earlier in the LHC about the blacklist were flawed. He said his offer of providing legal assistance (to Shehbaz) still stands.