LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Friday rejected the federal government’s stance regarding its jurisdiction to hear the petition seeking removal of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL).
“The arguments advanced by the learned Additional Attorney General that the conditions mentioned in the impugned memorandum are based upon the judgement pronounced by the Accoutability Court, Islamabad and challenged before the Islamabad High Court, therefore, this court lacks jurisdiction, has not impressed us for the simple reason as it is not the case of Respondent/Federation that the impugned order does not apply in the Province of Punjab and that if the petitioner wants to exit from the territorial jurisdiction of this Court, he would not be stopped,” the two-member bench stated.
“In this view of the matter, we at this stage hold that this court has the jurisdiction to hear this matter,” the court announced.
After announcing verdict on maintainability of petition, the high court adjourned case hearing till Saturday.
Earlier, in its 45-page reply submitted in the LHC, the federal government had opposed the request seeking unconditional permission for Nawaz Sharif to go abroad, stating that the LHC does not have the jurisdiction to hear this petition. The government requested the court to reject petition as non-maintainable.
The government also informed that it has allowed the former prime minister to travel abroad for four weeks. His name was added to the ECL based on the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) recommendation.
ARGUMENTS BY NAWAZ SHARIF’S LAWYER
At the outset of today’s hearing, Shehbaz Sharif’s lawyers Advocate Amjad Pervaiz presented copies of court orders in similar cases, stating that the Lahore High Court (LHC) has authority to hear this petition.
“There are many court verdicts that vindicate our stance,” he said, adding that example of removal of former president Pervez Musharraf’a name is in front of everyone.
On this, Justice Ali Baqir Najfi pointed out that Musharraf’s case could not be referenced because he had not been convicted when his name was taken off the no-fly list. Justice Ali Baqir noted that according to the record NAB has left the entire matter relating to removing Nawaz’s name from the ECL to the government.
Advocate Amjad informed that super model Ayan Ali, who was jailed in connection with money laundering case, was also allowed to leave the country without any condition. The government cannot deprive anyone of their fundamental rights, he added.
CONDITIONS SET BY GOVT
It may be mentioned that the federal government has set condition for Nawaz Sharif to pay Rs7 billion surety bond if he wants to travel abroad for medical treatment. The government has also given only one time four-week permission to ailing Sharif to get his medical treatment in London.
The new condition has further delayed the three-time former Pakistan PM Sharif’s departure to London as doctors in Pakistan struggle to stablise his health condition.