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Court allows one-time relaxation for Hamza Shahbaz to travel abroad


News Desk |

The Lahore High Court (LHC) has allowed Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz to travel abroad for 10 days.

The federal government had placed Hamza’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL) on the advice of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Hamza, who along with his father Shahbaz Sharif, is facing NAB inquiries into the Ramzan Sugar Mills road construction and for allegedly owning assets beyond means.

Additional Attorney General Ashfaq A Khan, who represented the federal government in court, argued against Hamza’s plea maintaining that if someone causes monetary losses to public exchequer they can be restricted from leaving the country.

The Punjab opposition leader had approached the high court saying he wanted to travel to the UK where his wife is undergoing medical treatment but he had been barred from leaving the country by the Interior Ministry.

He challenged the interior ministry’s move saying the step had been taken arbitrarily without affording him an opportunity to defend him. He maintained that the restriction was in violation of constitutionally-guaranteed fundamental rights including the right to travel and free movement.

The petitioner requested the court to direct the government to remove his name from the no-fly list. He also urged the court to suspend the ministry’s directive until a final decision on his petition, and grant him one-time permission to travel abroad as immediate relief.

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“I am the representative of the people of the largest province and have been taking regular part in all the NAB inquiries. However, pending NAB cases have been made the reason for the inclusion of my name in the ECL,” Hamza maintained in his petition. LHC Justice Muhammad Farrukh Irfan took up the petition on Wednesday and allowed Hamza to leave the country once for a 10-day span.

Additional Attorney General Ashfaq A Khan, who represented the federal government in court, argued against Hamza’s plea maintaining that if someone causes monetary losses to public exchequer they can be restricted from leaving the country.

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The court has directed the interior ministry to file its reply to Hamza’s petition at the next hearing of the case.

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