NAB throws ball in federal govt’s court
The issue of removing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List will be taken up by the sub-committee of the federal Cabinet today. The session will be chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The sub-committee on ECL has issued notices to the relevant parties, including Secretary Health Punjab and the medical board. The notice mentioned that the complainant, Shahbaz Sharif or his representative, should appear before the committee.
In response, Pakistan Muslim League-N Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Shahbaz Sharif’s representative Attaullah Tarar and Dr Adnan will present before the committee.
The former state minister expressed hope that the issue of lifting the travel ban on Nawaz Sharif will be resolved soon at the government level. Earlier, the Interior Ministry decided to send the matter to the federal cabinet, however according to the rules, the issue should have been sent to a sub-committee first.
Meanwhile, the National Accountability Bureau on Monday threw the ball back in the federal government’s court regarding the removal of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List, saying it was the “competent authority” to handle such matters. The development came hours after government’s chief spokesperson Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the decision to remove Nawaz’s name from the no-fly list will be taken in light of recommendations of NAB and the medical board.
In a response submitted to the interior ministry, NAB said that “the federal government is the competent authority to remove names from the ECL,” Asim Ali Nawazish, a spokesperson for the bureau, told media.
NAB also stated that there were past precedents, including in the case of convicted murderer and former MQM worker Saulat Mirza, in which the federal government had struck convicts’ names off the ECL without asking NAB, the spokesperson added.
Earlier in the day, NAB had said that it had received Nawaz’s medical reports from the Ministry of Interior and would give its opinion according to the law.
“After due process of law [we] will give our opinion as per law in due course of time,” a spokesperson for the accountability watchdog said. Awan, the special assistant to the prime minister on information, had earlier in the day laid out the procedure for the removal of names from the ECL.
“The government itself does not place any individual’s name on the ECL. Names are placed on the ECL on the recommendations given by NAB and the courts. Now that an application has been filed for the name to be removed, the same process is being followed,” she told the media after her hearing in the Islamabad High Court in a contempt case. “Hopefully, today we will receive NAB’s recommendations. […] NAB is the plaintiff in this case, he (Nawaz) is a suspect in [a case being probed by] NAB and was convicted by an accountability court.