LHC directs govt to inform Maryam of its decision regarding removal of her name from ECL

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The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday asked the PTI-led government to inform PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz on its decision regarding removal of her name from the Exit Contol List (ECL).

A two-member bench of the high court, comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Anwarul Haq Pannu, took up Maryam’s second petition seeking the removal of her name from the no-fly list and one-time permission to visit London to inquire after her ailing father and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The LHC on December 9 had disposed of her earlier petition and directed the government’s review committee to decide on the matter within a week.

The court asked how long it had been since its earlier order was issued, in response to which Maryam’s lawyer Advocate Amjad Pervez said that it had been two weeks since the directive was issued to the government and no decision had yet been taken on the matter.

Pervez added that Maryam’s representative Atta Tarrar had also appeared before the government’s review committee but still no decision was taken.

The court asked Additional Attorney General Chaudhry Ishtiaq A. Khan, who was representing the federal government, if the government had taken any decision on removing the PML-N vice president’s name from the ECL.

AAG Khan said the review committee presents its recommendation to the cabinet, which then decides on the matter.

Justice Pannu noted that though the government has yet to decide on the matter, he had read in the newspaper today that the government would not allow her to go abroad.

“The government has to take a decision, and they should do so. How are they giving a statement before the decision is taken?” he asked.

On Sunday, senior lawyer and aide to the prime minister Dr Babar Awan had said that the subcommittee of the federal cabinet that deals with ECL cases had rejected her plea. “The subcommittee is part of the cabinet and a formal announcement to bar Maryam from travelling abroad will be made by the federal cabinet in its meeting [on Tuesday],” Awan had said.

During today’s proceedings, the court said that Maryam should be informed of whatever decision is taken tomorrow during the cabinet meeting.

Justice Pannu also asked Maryam’s counsel to explain the maintainability of the case.

“Is this petition for Maryam Nawaz or Nawaz Sharif?” he asked, in response to which Advocate Pervez said a summary of Nawaz’s case had been included in his daughter’s petition as their cases are connected.

The proceedings were adjourned until December 26 (Thursday).

Maryam moves court again

On Saturday, Maryam moved the court for a second time seeking the removal of her name from the ECL. She sought one-time permission to travel abroad for six weeks from the date of departure.

Maryam had first approached the court with this request two weeks ago on December 7. The high court disposed off the petition and directed the government’s review committee to decide on the matter within a week.

During the proceedings, Maryam’s lawyer Azam Nazir Tarar had said that the court should change her petition’s status to “pending” and direct the government to decide on the review application. However, the court said it didn’t want to increase pressure on the government by doing so.

Along with her father, Nawaz Sharif, the government had decided to place Maryam’s name on the ECL on August 20, 2018. Maryam is currently free on bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case, in which she is a suspect, but her name remains on the no-fly list.

Nawaz, on the other hand, travelled to London last month after the government and courts granted him permission to fly abroad on medical grounds.

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