ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Minister for Law and Justice Barrister Syed Ali Zafar said the prime minister had constituted a three-member committee to decide about placing the names of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz on the Exit Control List (ECL).
Talking to reporters outside the Islamabad High Court, he said the government had received an application from the National Accountability Bureau seeking placement of the names of Mr Sharif and his daughter on the ECL, but no decision had so far been taken in this regard.
The law minister said the committee comprising Interior Minister Mohammad Azam, Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar and himself would review the matter once the two Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders returned to the country. He said that since both were outside the country due to the illness of Begum Kalsoom Nawaz, the issue of placing their names on the ECL could not be raised at this time.
In reply to a question, Mr Zafar clarified that the name of Imran Khan’s friend Zulfiqar Bokhari had never been on the ECL and, therefore, he could not be stopped from travelling abroad.
He expressed his ignorance about the presence of any law under which the names of people were placed on the so-called “blacklist”. Mr Zafar said his ministry was reviewing the matter and looking for the laws regarding the blacklist. However, he said the practice of putting the names of people on the blacklist had been going on for a long time.
The minister explained that if someone’s name was present in the ECL, he or she could not go outside the country without the approval of the federal cabinet. He said the approval of the cabinet was not required for inclusion or withdrawal of a name from the blacklist.
Responding to a question about the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s demand for removing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, the minister said anybody could be removed if the government found interference in and influence on the next elections.
He ruled out the possibility of any delay in the general elections and said the caretaker government would utilise all its energies and resources to ensure that the elections were held on time and in a free and transparent manner. “This is our promise with the nation,” he reiterated.
Mr Zafar said foolproof security would be provided at all the sensitive polling stations in order to ensure that the elections were held in a peaceful atmosphere.