SHC disposes of application of Musharraf seeking his name removed from ECL

December 23, 2013 Off By Web Desk

Karachi: Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday while disposing of application of former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf seeking removal of his name from exit control list (ECL), clarified that it did not impose any restriction on his travelling abroad.

A division bench of SHC headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah pronounced the verdict on Musharraf’s application, who had moved the court seeking review of court’s earlier order restraining him from leaving the country without permission of trial courts.

The bench was of the opinion that there was no question to direct the federal government to strike Musharraf’s name off the ECL as the Supreme Court had issued directives for placing the name of former military chief on the ECL.

AQ Halepota representing Musharraf had submitted before the bench that Musharraf had appeared before SHC on March 29 for a 21-day transitory bail. The bail was granted with a condition that he would not leave the country without permission of the trial courts and his name was placed on the ECL.

The counsel informed the bench that trial courts had confirmed Gen Musharraf’s bail in all cases, including the killings of Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and Lal Masjid cleric Ghazi Abdul Rasheed during an army operation in 2007.

He said Musharraf wanted to be with his 95-year-old ailing mother in Dubai after his release on bail. He argued that placing the name on ECL was a violation of fundamental rights. He requested the court to review its earlier order.

Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Munir A Malik argued that Musharraf’s name was placed on ECL by the Ministry of Interior on the direction of the apex court and added that the court had no jurisdiction to review its own earlier order.

He placed on the record the letter dated November 21, 2013, regarding putting name of applicant on ECL, and said federal government placed his name on ECL keeping in view the Exit Control Ordinance 1981, which did not advise the applicant to approach the court against ban on travel abroad, which was act of federal government not consequent to direction of the court.

He requested the court to dismiss the application as it was non-maintainable. After hearing argument the bench had reserved the order on application earlier on December 16, 2013.

The bench said that it never directed federal government to put applicant’s name on ECL but a condition was imposed while granting protective bail which continued during the existence of the protective bail. “Therefore in our opinion this application itself becomes redundant and ancillary objection regarding jurisdiction of the court to review its order while exercising criminal jurisdiction becomes only academic importance and does not require adjudication”, observed the bench.