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IHC reserves verdict on plea to put Imran Khan’s name on ECL

Court tells FIA to remove names of Shahbaz Gill, Shahzad Akbar from ‘stop list’

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday reserved its judgement on the maintainability of an intra-court appeal (ICA) seeking an investigation of ‘lettergate’ and placing the name of former prime minister Imran Khan on the Exit Control List (ECL).

A division bench headed by Justice Aamer Farooq heard the case filed by a citizen, Molvi Iqbal Haider. Earlier, a single-member bench had imposed Rs100,000 fine on the petitioner while dismissing the case.

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The petitioner adopted the stance that the single-member bench could not view his case properly, adding that he had not levelled any allegation against the ambassadors.

He had prayed the court to take action against the former premier under Article 6 of the Constitution for putting national interest at risk.

He said that Imran Khan waved the fake letter during a political gathering and now his party members were resigning from the National Assembly on basis of the same piece of paper. The petitioner said that the letter must be investigated.

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The court asked the petitioner whether he had filed the complaint with any other forum. Iqbal Haider said he had given an application to the interior secretary in this regard.

After listening to arguments, the court reserved its judgement on the maintainability of the case.

‘Stop list’

Separately, the IHC extended the stay it had granted, and ordered the immediate removal of the names of PTI leaders Shahbaz Gill and Barrister Shahzad Akbar from the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) “stop list”.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the cases filed by Shahbaz Gill and Shahzad Akbar.
FIA officials appeared before the court and adopted the stance that the agency’s director had issued a letter due to the extraordinary situation in the country. They said that the anti-corruption circle wrote to the FIA on April 8 to place the names on the “stop list” as there were several allegations of corruption against them.

The FIA said that two inquiries were pending against Shahzad Akbar and Shahbaz Gill for making money through illegal means.

The court remarked that it was a serious matter and the FIA used to handle such matters regularly, but the performance of the department had been disappointing for the last two or three years.

The court said that it had to be proved that there was no chance of victimisation in these cases. The FIA prayed the court to grant a few days for submission of a detailed answer in the Shahzad Akbar case.

The court said these were the old tactics and it would not allow for this. The petitioners’ lawyer said that despite the court orders the names of his clients were not removed from the “stop list”.

The chief justice asked what law existed to place the names on the list. The court said it was watching the conduct of the FIA for the last several years. The court ordered the FIA to immediately remove the names of two persons from the “stop list” and adjourned the case until April 18.

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