Lahore High Court admits PML-N plea against Nawaz Sharif travel conditions

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday ruled that the PML-N petition for removal of Nawaz Sharif’s name from the ECL on a conditional basis was admissible.

The High Court dismissed the NAB and federal government’s stance on the matter, adjourning the hearing until tomorrow (Saturday).

The LHC resumed hearing on an application seeking removal of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL).

The high court will conduct a hearing on the matter on Saturday at 11:30 am.

When the proceedings commenced today, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the federal government submitted their replies. The hearing was then put off for an hour to allow the petitioner’s counsel to read the responses.

he bench, Led by Justice Ali Baqir Najafi and Containing Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem, heard the Request.

The government, in its 45-page reply, opposed the plea stating that the petitioner is a convict and that he cannot be allowed to leave the country without a security deposit.

Opposition Leader in the National Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif had filed the petition on Thursday.

It challenged the government’s conditional one-time permission to Nawaz to travel abroad for medical treatment only after submitting Rs7.5 billion surety bond.

During Thursday’s hearing the court sought a report and para-wise comments from the federal government and the anti-graft body.

Appearing on behalf of the federal government, Additional Attorney General Ishtiaq A Khan objected to the maintainability of the petition and requested that the petition be dismissed for being “non-maintainable”.

Nawaz counselor Amjad Pervez said that the LHC will hear the request since the NAB was a national association.
He claimed that Nawaz must approach the Islamabad High Court (IHC) rather for removal of his name by the ECL, since the national government had put his name to the record along with also the court lacked the authority to entertain the prosecution. The counsel argued that the condition of furnishing Rs7.5 billion surety bonds was not based on any provision of law.

He added the government’s condition carried no legal standing as the petitioner had been granted bail in Chaudhry Sugar Mills case by the LHC and his sentence in Al-Azizia reference had been suspended by the IHC.

He contended that Nawaz’s name was placed on the ECL in the wake of pending cases against him. Pervez pointed out that the former prime minister had sent an application to the interior ministry for removal of his name from the ECL but the federal government issued the impugned order on Nov 13, allowing Nawaz to proceed abroad for treatment only after furnishing indemnity bond.

He further said that Nawaz had the fundamental rights under Article 4 & 15 of the Constitution to move freely.

The court then asked the attorney general to tell whether the fine imposed by the government was part of the accountability court verdict.

Responding to the question, the further attorney general said the national authorities had hunted surety bond equal to the fine levied by the Islamabad liability court on Nawaz Sharif.

Shairf’s counsel also admitted that the amount of indemnity bond sought by the government was equivalent to the fine imposed on the petitioner in Al-Azizia reference by an accountability court.

The law officer added that the PML-N leader’s sentence was only suspended in Al-Azizia reference and not set aside.

The bench observed that the IHC seemingly suspended the sentence of this petitioner rather than the nice. Justifying the move to seek out bond of the government, he also contended that when didn’t return, the government could be held accountable, as had occurred in Pervez Musharraf case.
“Can the ECL ordinance provide the Centre ability to give permission to get a one-time trip overseas?” Asked the courtroom.

To this Pervez said the impugned order of November 13 was not based on any provisions of Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance 1981 and Exit from Pakistan (Control) Rules 2010, empowering the federal government to impose extra conditions for his one-time permission to travel abroad especially after he had been granted bail by two different high courts.

He added Nawaz was seriously ill and the medical board had suggested his treatment abroad. The counselor said the courts were there to do it in the event the petitioner violated their requests of suspension and bail. The government doesn’t have any function in the matter, ” he added.
The legislation officer searched time to confirm when asked if the impugned order of this authorities for its indemnity bond was a consequence of any consensus or if the petitioner was set on the ECL on the recommendation of Lahore or Islamabad division of the NAB.

The law officer also sought time to file para-wise comments to the petition, which the bench duly allowed. The seat asked the legislation officer to help it upon a legal purpose regarding if the authorities had the capacity to place any requirement for eliminating title in the ECL if there had been an arrangement from the court.

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