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Cabinet to decide on excluding 172 persons’ names from the ECL

ISLAMABAD -UNS – Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan is expected to preside over a meeting of the federal cabinet today in Islamabad to, primarily, mull over the addition of 172 influential individuals in the Exit Control List (ECL).

Particularly, there is a high possibility of removal of the names of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah from the no-fly list.

In this regard, the concerned committee was directed to submit a report on its recommendations to the interior ministry on Thursday (today).

The federal cabinet is expected to review the recommendations before approving the removal of Bilawal and CM Shah’s names from the no-fly list.

Earlier, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said “We have put their names on the ECL as persons under investigation had been setting a precedent of ‘escaping’ from the country. Former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi fecilitated Ishaq Dar (former finance minister) and helped him escape on his plane.”

Besides, several critical issues will also be examined in the meeting.

The background

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), probing into an alleged mega money laundering case, has accused the Zardari Group, Omni Group and Bahria Town in its report presented to the apex court, and subsequently requested placing the names of 172 suspects on the ECL.

Responding to the JIT findings, the federal government had released a list of 172 suspects whose names were placed on the list. The list included Bilawal Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari, Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah, presidents of many local banks, and other former ministers, bureaucrats and businessmen.

However, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar expressed disappointment over the government’s decision.

“How can the name of chief executive of the country’s second-biggest province be put on the ECL?” Justice Nisar asked the attorney general.

His remarks forced the government to review its decision.

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