Ex-AGP moves court against curbs on travelling abroad

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Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—Former Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) Akhtar Buland Rana has filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) challenging a notification of Directorate General of Immigration and Passport that has blacklisted him.
Mr Rana through his counsel, Sardar Taimoor Aslam, has filed the petition and requested the court to set aside the notification that has blocked him from travelling abroad since he was removed from the office of the AGP in May last year. Mr Rana says that he was unaware of the travel restriction until recently when someone informed him that his name had been included among those who have been blacklisted. According to a former director general of immigration and passport, whenever the office of the Immigration and Passport learnt that a citizen has deliberately concealed some facts or submitted a false declaration, the said office puts his name on the blacklist and shares his passport details with the airports.
As a result, the blacklisted person cannot use his pas sport to leave the country and until or unless he gets himself cleared, the directorate neither issues nor renews his passport.
After being blacklisted, Mr Rana is deprived of his future passport facilities; he has been denied these rights on the basis of allegations that he obtained the Pakistani passport by concealing his Canadian nationality. While invoking his right to movement, the former AGP in his petition, cited directorate general and the assistant director (BL cell) of the Immigration & Passport as respondents in the case.
In the petition, the counsel stated that the respondents issued a letter on May 5, 2015, blacklisting him. The respondents have also initiated an inquiry against Mr Rana, despite the fact that he had already been removed from his position of auditor general of Pakistan. In the petition, it has been explained that Mr Rana challenged his removal before the IHC in 2015, a case which is yet to be concluded. Besides, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) filed a case against him for concealing his citizenship. Akhtar Buland Rana had to seek bail in this case. But this case was closed as “no irregularity/ double identity was involved,” according to the FIA investigation report.