Monday November 29, 2021

Interior ministry told to submit SOPs for placement of names on ECL

September 17, 2020

The Sindh High Court on Wednesday took exception over non-compliance of the court directives with regard to the submission of standard operative procedures (SOPs) of the interior ministry for the placement of citizen name on the exit control list.

The court directed the secretary interior to appear in person to explain the position. The direction came on a petition filed by Javed Iqbal, a private builder, in which the court had directed ministry of interior and the National Accountability Bureau to develop SOPs for the placement of citizens’ name on ECL by ensuring that all persons shall be treated equally before the law.

NAB, however, submitted revised and amended SOPs for the placement of a person’s name on ECL before the court. The SHC’s division bench, headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha, had on the pervious hearing taken notice over non-compliance by the ministry of interior despite lapse of eighteen months and had observed that despite the court order had been issued on May 29, 2018 still no reply had been received from the ministry of interior.

The court had directed the interior secretary to either adopt the statement containing SOPs given by NAB or place their own SOPs or rules on record as in what circumstances a person’s name should be placed on ECL.

The deputy attorney general informed the court that neither the interior secretary had adopted the SOPs given by NAB nor had he placed the ministry of interior’s own rules/SOPs on record as in what circumstances a person’s name should be placed on ECL.

The court observed that more than two years had passed but still the court orders had not been complied with by the ministry of interior as the interior secretary had failed to adopt NAB’s SOPs or place on record its own SOPs.

The judge observed that the court was compelled to call in person the interior secretary along with a written statement either confirming that the ministry of interior had adopted NAB’s SOPs or placed on record the ministry of interior’s SOPs. The court also warned that in the event the ministry of interior failed to appear before the court, appropriate order shall be passed.

The court deprecated the conduct of the interior ministry for ignoring the order of the court and taking the matter very lightly. It is pertinent to mention that the SHC on May 28, 2018 in order to enhance the public confidence in the rule of the law and adherence to the constitution, had directed NAB and the federal government to develop SOPs within three months with regard to placement of a person’s name on ECL to ensure that all persons were treated equally before the law.

Sharjeel Memon’s spouse plea

The SCH issued notices to NAB, the ministry of interior and others on a petition filed by Pakistan People Party leader Shajreel Inam Memon’s spouse against the placement of her name on ECL. Petitioner Safad Sharjeel submitted in the petition that she was granted bail by the SHC in a NAB reference against her spouse pertained to the accumulation of assets beyond means and her name was placed on ECL. She said she wanted to travel abroad due to examination of her son in Dubai and requested the court to remove her name from ECL. The court directed NAB and the ministry of interior to file comments on the petition and adjourned the hearing till September 21.