Pakistan court orders government to remove Shehbaz Sharif’s name from no-fly list

Lahore: A Pakistani court Tuesday ordered the government to remove Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Shehbaz Sharif’s name from the no-fly list. Shehbaz got the relief the day his elder brother and three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was granted a six-week bail on medical grounds by the Supreme Court.

The 67-year-old leader has been indicted along with nine others in the Ashiana Iqbal Housing scam case.  Sharif was arrested by the NAB in the probe on October 5, 2018. He was released on bail on February 14. His name was placed on the travel blacklist on February 22 for allegedly possessing assets beyond his declared sources of income. He had approached the Lahore High Court seeking declaration of the government’s decision to place his name on the no-fly list as null and void.

A two-member Lahore High Court bench headed by Justice Malik Shahzad Tuesday ordered the Imran Khan government to remove Shehbaz’s name from Exit Control List (ECL) forthwith. Shehbaz’s lawyer Azam Tarar told the court that the government placed his client’s name on the ECL after he got bail in two corruption cases – Ashiana housing and Ramzan Sugar Mills — last month thus making the mockery of the law. “Sharif used to go abroad especially for his treatment and return during the inquiry and investigation,” he said.

Tarar said the ban on Shehbaz’s international travel was blatant violation of his fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution. “The right to international travel besides right to liberty was also an integral part of right to life and right to meaningful, satisfying and purposeful life.” “Being leader of opposition in National Assembly and head of a political party, Shehbaz has to travelling within and outside the country,” he contended and pointed out that Prime Minister Imran Khan frequently asserted that he wanted to “fix” Shehbaz.

Meanwhile, Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaurdhy said that the government would be challenging the Lahore High Court’s decision in the Supreme Court. “There is a record of Sharif family members leaving the country and not coming back,” said Chaudhry. Sharif served as the chief minister of the politically crucial Punjab province from 2013 to 2018. He became PML-N president after his elder brother Nawaz Sharif was barred from holding the top party position and public posts.

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