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June 29, 2018

New travel ban comes into force for suspected outlaws

Top Story

June 29, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is applying a new 30-day temporary travel restriction against those wanted by the state, to bypass the earlier long and tedious process of Exit Control List (ECL).

The FIA now can place such an individual on the Provincial Identification List (PNIL) for a month but restriction can be extended to another same period if done within the stipulated 30 days.

The PNIL has been introduced formally at all the immigration desks of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on each entry and exit point of the country. “This has been done to avoid the long process of placing someone on the Exit Control List (ECL) and to ensure that any wanted person should not leave the country," shares an Interior Ministry official.

Background interviews and documents available to this correspondent reveal that a new system has now been placed by the FIA across the country to ensure the control of the state at all exit and entry points of air and land.

In this regard, a proper Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been issued, which empowers FIA officers to arrest or detain a person placed on PNIL when he or she attempts to leave the country from airport or border posts, and later hand him/her over to the requesting agency.

The sources reveal that the PNIL has been enacted on the basis of recommendations made by a three-member committee comprising Arshad Mirza, former secretary interior, Secretary Foreign Affairs Ms Tehmina Janjua and Director General of FIA Bashir Memon. The committee was constituted by the Supreme Court on Feb 6, 2018.

The sources say that this was done with the background that criminals such as Mujahidullah, the accused murderer of Asma Rani, a medical student form Kohat, flew abroad within a few hours of the crime.

The sources claim that it has also been decided that the SOP will govern and maintenance of PNIL would be done by the FIA, which will place the names of such accused in its already maintained Integrated Border Management System (IBMS).

“FIA's Additional DG Immigration is authorised to circulate instructions on the PNIL to the Provincial Police Officers (PPO) and Zonal Directors FIA, based on this SOP, to receive information regarding fugitive (likely to escape),” reads a memo available with this correspondent.

According to the copy of the SOP, which is separately available with this correspondent, the following people would be placed on PNIL.

a) Cases registered under Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997

b) Murder cases (302 PPC)

c) Rape/trafficking of miners/child abuse

d) Any sensational heinous crime which in the opinion of the Provincial Police Officer/Inspector General Police is likely to have bearing on the law and order situation if the fugitive involved escapes from the country to evade his apprehension.

The SOP also adds, “Any offence which is an FIA scheduled offense and is considered or has a component of offense against the state as an offense for which the fugitive involved can be recommended for placement on ECL.”

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