ECL amendments benefitted people in authority: CJ

Justice Muneeb questions why amendments made within two days of new government

Supreme Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial has said that the amendments made in the Exit Control List (ECL) rules benefitted people in authority, while the apex court has ordered people listed on the Exit Control List (ECL) to take permission from the Interior Ministry before travelling.

A five member larger bench of the honorable court on Tuesday was hearing a suo motu notice regarding the apprehension about ‘persons in authority’ undermining the justice system.

During the hearing, Supreme Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that persons in authority had made amendments in the ECL and benefitted from it. He said that it appeared that cabinet members had abolished the list.

Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf appeared before the court. Upon question about approval of ECL rules from the cabinet, he told the court that the matter was under review in a cabinet committee.

Additional Attorney General Chaudhry Amir Rehman informed the court that a meeting attended by all stakeholders was held at attorney general’s office after the court’s previous hearing. He added that a cabinet committee meeting on ECL rules was also held yesterday in which the court’s observations and questions were discussed.

Rehman added that the AGP office had come up with the SOPs regarding amendments in the ECL rules and had given them to all the stakeholders. “All the names struck off the list will be reviewed again one by one,” he said.

Justice Ahsan asked about the already amended rules and removal of names from the ECL. Rehman told the court that new rules would be made after consultation with FIA and NAB.

Moreover, the chief justice said during the hearing that everyone must work together to let the system work. He said that legislation by a “unilateral” parliament must be according to legal requirements.

Justice Muneeb Akhtar, during the hearing, remarked that ECL rules amendments would be applicable to all cases. He asked about the hurry, pointing out the fact that rules were amended within two days of the new government taking charge.

Meanwhile, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has submitted the record of 42 high-profile cases, out of which the names of 14 accused were removed from the ECL.