SC annoyed over bulk travel bans

Islamabad: The Supreme Court on Monday vented anger at placement of 172 individuals on the Exit Control List (ECL). On “fake bank accounts case”, Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar, questioned how the federal government would clarify to fix so many suspects names to the no-fly list. A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) which probed the” money laundering case” had held the Zardari and Anwar Majid responsible in its report in the apex court amid last Monday.  The report had also suggested that the suspects in the case be placed on the ECL. As per the JIT report, the federal government released a list of suspects whose names were placed on the no-fly list. The list included Bilawal Bhutto, Zardari, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali, presidents of a number of local banks, and other former ministers and bureaucrats. Irked at the government’s move, the chief justice wondered how these individuals could be barred from flying. “How can the chief executive of the country’s second-biggest province be put on the ECL?” Justice Nisar asked the attorney-general. “We had summoned replies from these individuals, but the government placed them on the ECL,” the top judge remarked. “(What if) the next name on the ECL is that of NAB chairman? Tomorrow your name could] be added too!” Justice Nisar stated in his remarks. “Who did this?” the judge asked, to which the attorney general replied that he would study the matter. “We will look into it ourselves,” Justice Nisar remarked, and asked the concerned minister to appear before the court. “We cannot allow the government to be removed simply on the basis of a report,” the judge stated that the court had not yet endorsed the JIT report. Farooq H. Naik was Zardari’s counsel in the case, but the JIT made him a suspect also, Khosa told the court. The Supreme Court, however, set aside the lawyer’s request to excuse him from appearance.  “No one can stop (Farooq H. Naik) from appearing in the court,” the chief justice remarked.