Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has said that former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif has been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) after the approval of the federal cabinet and required legal procedure.
In a tweet, the minister said that the record in this regard has also been updated.
Last week, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had offloaded the PML-N president from a flight to London. The senior politician was told that his name was in the ECL, therefore, he couldn’t travel out of Pakistan.
Shehbaz was issued a boarding card at the Lahore airport for his travel. However, when he had reached the immigration counter, he was told that he could not board the plane. He had informed the officials of the court orders that allowed him to travel abroad, but he was barred from boarding the plane.
The immigration officials had said the online system has not yet been updated and his name was still on the blacklist.
After this episode, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed had told media in Islamabad that the PML-N president may move a review plea before the ministry against the decision within 15 days and it will make a decision within 90 days of receiving the request.
He had clarified that Shehbaz’s name was not on a “blacklist”, and added that “the court’s decision came with regard to the blacklist.” It may be noted here that the Lahore High Court had allowed Shehbaz Sharif to go abroad for medical reasons.
He explained that there are three lists used to prevent someone from leaving for abroad: one is the blacklist, into which someone’s name is included by the passport office; the second is Provincial Identification List (PNIL), into which someone’s name is added by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA); and the third is the Exit Control List (ECL) into which the federal cabinet has the authority to put someone’s name.
The minister said that the interior ministry “received no request (for permission to travel)” and “nothing stating medical grounds”, whereas past requests had cited medical grounds.