Interior ministry places Sharifs name on ECL

ISLAMABAD: In line with the cabinet’s decision, the Ministry of Interior finally placed names of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam on the Exit Control List (ECL) – a move tagged by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) as political vicimisation.
The newly appointed federal cabinet during its maiden meeting decided to put the Sharifs’ names on the no-fly list. The meeting had also decided that the repatriation of ‘absconding criminals’ including Sharif’s sons and former finance minister Ishaq Dar would also be expedited.
Sharif, Maryam and her husband Captain (retired) Safdar are serving jail terms following their conviction on July 6 by an accountability court in Avenfield case. Name of Captain Safdar is already on the ECL in connection with the same case.
Avenfield reference was one of the four corruption cases filed against Sharif, his family members and Dar in line with apex court’s July 28, 2017 verdict in Panama Papers case.
According to official in the ministry, the names were placed on the ECL in early hours of Tuesday, and now the father-daughter duo cannot fly abroad even if they are granted bail by the court of law.
The last PML-N government did not place Sharifs’ names on the ECL despite recommendations of the National Accountability Court (NAB). Later on the caretaker setup also avoided this decision and left the matter to be decided by the newly elected cabinet.
Strongly criticising the move, the PML-N called it an act of political victimisation. The PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique said PM Imran Khan’s advisers – who, according to him, have roots in former military ruler Gen Musharraf’s regime – would put him in hot water.
“Placing Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz on the ECL is political victimisation. To become the prime minister is a difficult job but getting out of it is a fairly easy,” he said on Twitter. He threatened that putting Sharif’s name on the ECL would become a ‘headache’ for Imran Khan’s government.
“The PM’s advisers, who are counseling him to take on the opponents for the sake of becoming a hero in the name of accountability, would lead him to difficult situation,” he added.