IHC reserves verdict in Zulfi Bukhari blacklist case

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ISLAMABAD : The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on a petition filed against placement of Zulfi Bukhari’s name on a blacklist – an issue that arose when the London-based businessman attempted to leave for Saudi Arabia last month.

Bukhari, a close aide of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, was barred from leaving Pakistan when he proceeded to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah on June 11. Bukhari was later granted a one-time permission to go abroad for six days by the Interior Ministry.

Resuming hearing of the case earlier today, Justice Aamer Farooq questioned what law was in place regarding blacklisting of any individual.

It was requested to place [Bukhari’s] name on ECL, but he was instead placed on blacklist, the judge remarked, questioning why Bukhari’s name was removed from the blacklist after a phone call.

The judge further questioned how an individual with dual nationality could be blacklisted.

Deputy attorney general, in attendance during the hearing, informed the court that Bukhari’s CNIC, not passport, was cancelled. The judge then questioned the legal standing of the procedure, to which the official responded that the Interior Ministry had a standard operating procedure for such matters.

Bukhari’s counsel pleaded the court to remove Bukhari’s name from the blacklist, as his client’s business and family were based in Britain.

Justice Farooq, after listening to all the parties, reserved his verdict on the matter.

Bukhari earlier Tuesday expressed hope that the verdict would be in his favour, pointing out that the Interior Ministry had admitted there was no mechanism on placing a name on the blacklist.

Bukhari’s counsel has previously argued that his client, a British national, left for Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah along with Imran Khan in a special flight from the Nur Khan Airbase when the Federal Investigation Agency informed him that his name was on the blacklist.

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