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Supreme Court questions removal of names from ECL

On April 22nd, the PML-N government amended rules related to the ECL and removed the names of several thousand people from the list. 

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Friday, the Supreme Court expressed concern over the removal of names from the Exit Control List (ECL). The five-member bench has raised questions about the procedure of removing names from the list.

According to details, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar headed the bench.

The SC bench was resuming the hearing on a suo motu notice on the perceived apprehension of “persons in authority” undermining the criminal justice system.

Read more: NAB wants Nawaz & family on Exit Control List

In today’s hearing, CJP Justice Bandial observed that changes had been made to the ECL Rules on April 22, 2022 and the names of those involved in corruption and tax theft of Rs10 million were removed from it.

“At whose behest did the Cabinet amend the rules pertaining to people involved in corruption and defaulters. Did the federal Cabinet approve the amendment in rules?” the CJP asked, as reported by the media.

On the other hand, Justice Akhtar observed that the approval of the change in rules by a cabinet member who was facing cases would be a conflict of interest. He asked for details of which cabinet members had benefitted from the move to be submitted to the court.

Govt. amends ECL rules

On April 22nd, the then newly-elected government amended rules related to the ECL and removed the names of several thousand people from the list.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah made the announcement during his maiden press conference. He said if a person’s name has been on the exit list for more than 120 days then their name would be automatically removed from the ECL.

The interior minister said the government could extend the duration of the cap by 90 days if it believes of having had evidence against a person.

Read more: Interior ministry puts ex-spymaster Durrani’s name on Exit Control List