Verdict reserved on plea seeking removal of Musharraf name from ECL

Karachi: Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday reserved its decision till December 23 on an application filed by former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf seeking removal of his name from exit control list (ECL).

Musharraf had requested the court to review its earlier order restraining him from leaving the country without permission of trial courts.

AQ Halepota representing Musharraf submitted 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 was not involved in only two cases but he was also required in treason case under Article 6 of Constitution for subverting and abrogating constitution of Pakistan.

He said that as per law, the court could not decide his application for removing his name from ECL. He told the court that he was allowed transitory bail on two grounds that he would submit surety and surrender before trial courts.

Earlier Deputy Attorney General Mohammad Zahid Khan had submitted a statement on behalf of the interior ministry and said the name of the former army chief had been put on ECL after fulfilling all legal requirements.

He said that in his application Musharraf did not mention whether or not he approached the trial courts for permission to leave the country. He said the applicant had also not discussed the grounds for seeking modification of the court’s earlier order. He requested the court to dismiss the application as non-maintainable.

The two-judge bench observed that the court had not issued directives for placing his name on ECL but applicant was restrained from leaving country without permission of the trial court.

A division bench of SHC headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah after hearing the arguments on application from both sides reserved its decision, which would be pronounced on December 23.

Meanwhile, same bench dismissed a petition filed by Advocate Moulvi Iqbal Haider seeking retention of Musharraf’s name on ECL till a treason case against him is decided.

Moulvi Iqbal said Musharraf wanted to flee the country and that was why he had filed an application for removal of his name from ECL. He pleaded that the federal authorities be refrained from removing Musharraf’s name from ECL till disposal of the treason case against him.

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