Pakistan SC asks govt to review decision to place 172 people on Exit Control List

PTI Islamabad, Pakistan Dec 31, 2018, 10.11 PM(IST)

File photo of Asif Ali Zardari Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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Last week, the names of 172 people - including politicians, bankers and businessmen who were named in the court-ordered joint investigation team's (JIT) probe report - were placed on the no-fly list.

Pakistan's Supreme Court on Monday asked the government to review its decision to place 172 people, including former president Asif Ali Zardari and the Sindh Chief Minister, on the Exit Control List (ECL) after they were named in a money laundering scam. 

Last week, the names of 172 people - including politicians, bankers and businessmen who were named in the court-ordered joint investigation team's (JIT) probe report - were placed on the no-fly list.

A two-member bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar expressed anger over the placement of the suspects' names on the ECL and summoned "the minister responsible" for the move to court.

Justice Nisar summoned State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi in the court and asked why the cabinet discussed the JIT report when it was still sub-judice.
The court was hearing a suo motu case on a delay in a 2015 probe into fake bank accounts allegedly used to launder billions of rupees.

Several bigwigs, including Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and several other top politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats are in the list.

"Review this decision, take it back before the cabinet," the chief justice said.

He also directed the minister to submit the names of those on ECL in the court and adjourned hearing until January 7. 

The chief justice expressed displeasure over name of Sindh chief minister in no-fly list and asked the attorney general how the government banned the chief minister of second biggest province from leaving the country.

Speaking to the attorney general, Justice Nisar said: "You placed the name of the chief minister of the second largest province on the ECL. Tomorrow, you will place the name of National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) chairman on the ECL and tell him to continue working."

"Maybe we should place four ministers' names on the ECL so that there is a balance," the chief justice suggested.

The court expressed anger at the discussion on the JIT report in media when the court has yet to give its ruling over the report.

The bench also asked Zardari's defence counsel, Farook H Naek, to continue representing his client though his name was in JIT report.

Naek had requested the court to allow him to recuse from the case.