Legalize changes to ECL Rules in a week or face court order, SC warns govt

CJP deplores a minister whose name was removed from ECL is performing important economic duties: Seeks record of all high-profile cases: Hopes govt will appoint honest person on the post of NAB chief

By: News Desk
Published: 03:24 PM, 3 Jun, 2022
Legalize changes to ECL Rules in a week or face court order, SC warns govt
Caption: File photo.
Stay tuned with 24 News HD Android App
Get it on Google Play

While giving one week time to the government to bring into legal framework the amendments federal cabinet made to the rules of Exit Control List, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial has warned government that in case of non-compliance, the court will issue an order, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

These remarks were uttered by CJP Bandial on Friday during the hearing of a suo motu notice taken by the Supreme Court on the interference of government in the working of investigation agencies.

A five-judge larger bench of the apex court heard the case. 

The top judge directed the government to bring amendments to the ECL rules into legal framework within a week, and in case of non- compliance, the court would issue an order that might create problems for the government. 

“Ask government to take steps to legalize amendments. We do not want to interfere in the executive authority,” the CJP told Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf. 

CJP Bandial remarked that he did not want to mention the name, but a minister whose name was taken off the ECL, he was performing important economic duties.

Justice Muneeb Akhtar inquired who decided to implement the amendments to the ECL Rules from the back dates.

The AGP said that the government on the recommendations of a sub-committee decided to take names of people off the ECL and implement them from the earlier period.

Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi remarked that government said that going abroad was a fundamental right of every citizen. He wondered if flying abroad was a fundamental right, then what was the need for establishing the ECL. 

The AGP said that in his personal opinion, there should be no ECL. 

The chief justice of Pakistan told him off saying that the court did not seek personal opinions. He said, “Since the judiciary does not want to interfere in the executive’s domain, it only wants the executive to remove all the shortcomings mentioned by the court.” 

During hearing, Chief justice Bandial deplored that the government removed a person from the ECL whose name was put on the no-fly list on the direction of the Supreme Court. He asked AGP Ausaf, who put names of people involved in NAB cases on the ECL.

The AGP informed the court that names were put on the list on the advice of NAB chief.

The CJP remarked ‘the NAB investigates corruption cases but the watchdog does not ask for the inclusion of every person’s name on the ECL. It advises the border authorities to put names of only those who are involved in corruption of billions of rupees’. 

The CJP further said that according to NAB, the government removed names of several accused involved in billions of rupees corruption.

He fumed how the government could amend the ECL rules without taking on board the investigation agencies. 

The FIA DG Law told the apex court that eight people went abroad and did not return. 

CJP Bandial directed the FIA DG if somebody pressured him to file a case against somebody, then he should inform the court. “You are a civil servant, you should not accept the interference in your work,” the top judge advised him. 

While demanding record of all high profile cases, the CJP asked the authorities to submit soft copies of all proofs and documents. If investigation institutions could not find record, they could obtain it from the Supreme Court record, he added.

The prosecutor general requested the court to give him time for the perusal of NAB cases. He told the court that the government would be able to implement the court order after the appointment of new NAB chief. 

On this, Chief Justice of Pakistan Bandial said that court hoped that the government would appoint new NAB head after a thorough deliberation. It is hoped that the government will appoint a clean, honest, able and man of good reputation on this post, the top judge added.

The court adjourned the hearing till June 14.

Reporter Amanat Gishkori