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December 10, 2019

Removal from ECL: LHC gives govt seven days to decide on Maryam’s plea

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December 10, 2019

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court Monday disposed of petition of PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz seeking removal of her name from the ECL and directed the federal government to decide the matter in accordance with law within seven days.

A two-member bench headed by Justice Ali Baqir Najafi heard Maryam’s plea to remove her name from the ECL and allow her travel abroad for six weeks. The bench converted the petition of Maryam into a representation, referred it to sub-committee of the federal cabinet with direction to decide the same within seven days.

Justice Anwarul Haq Pannun was the other member of the bench. Maryam’s counsel, Amjad Pervez in his arguments said the name of his client was placed on the ECL on the pretext of allegations of corruption and corrupt practices, adding that she was not afforded the opportunity of personal hearing. Citing various judgments of superior court, he argued that the court had struck off names from no fly-list without referring it to the government.

He pleaded the court to pass orders of striking down Maryam’s name from the ECL, so she could fly to London to look after her ailing father. Justice Najafi said: “How can the court assume the power of executive? The court wanted institutions to do their specific work”. “You should have approached the cabinet first before coming to the LHC,” the bench remarked.

Maryam’s counsel said they have not submitted any application with the government to remove her name from the ECL, adding that there was no better forum than the court to address the matter. Pervez alleged that a rival party of the PML-N is ruling the country; it will not allow Maryam to fly to London as the federal ministers were openly saying that they will not permit her to leave country. Justice Najafi said under Section 3 of the ECL Ordinance, they could file a review application before the federal government, referring to a recent decision by the sub-committee of the federal cabinet on review application of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif against the order of placing his name on the ECL.

At this juncture, leading counsel of Maryam, Azam Nazir Tarar said the court should keep her petition pending and direct the government to decide on the review application.

However, the court said they didn’t want to increase the pressure on the government by doing so and disposed of the petition, directing the government to decide on the review application. The court in its short verdict also said the applicant can move the Lahore High Court, after the decision of the review committee. Maryam had moved the Lahore High Court Saturday seeking its directives for the government to strike her name off the no-fly-list so she can travel abroad to take care of her ailing father Nawaz Sharif. The PML-N leader said her father’s health is beyond description, due to which she was under a lot of stress.

Maryam pleaded to the court to let her travel abroad for six weeks and return her passport. Meanwhile, the LHC issued a notice to the NAB for December 16 on Maryam’s request for the release of her passport.

Last month, the LHC while granting her bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case had directed the PML-N vice president to surrender her passport to secure her release. Her father, former premier Nawaz Sharif travelled to London last month after the government and courts granted him permission to fly abroad on medical grounds.

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