Federal cabinet removes Bilawal, Murad’s names from ECL

Islamabad: The federal cabinet Thursday decided to remove the names of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah from the Exit Control List (ECL). The cabinet however, refused to remove them from a Joint Investigation Team’s (JIT) report on the fake accounts case.  Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar said the decision was made in line with a Supreme Court order to the government to remove the two’s names from the ECL and review the cabinet decision to place the names of more than 170 accused in the fake bank accounts case on its travel restrictions list. He said the cabinet had decided to send the JIT report on money laundering and fake bank accounts case immediately to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as directed by Supreme Court. Briefing the decisions taken in cabinet meeting, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar said JIT report clearly indicates that money laundering and other serious crimes were committed. He said due to grave nature of crimes involved, the role of JIT had been maintained unlike other cases where JIT was dissolved after completing the task assigned to it. Shahzad Akbar said JIT will not only assist NAB in its investigation and probe, but also investigate such things which fall under the category of other offences. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability said based on the evidence in JIT report, NAB can file 16 references and it has to complete its investigation in two months’ time. Akbar said it has been decided that these cases will be filed in accountability courts in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, rather than Karachi. Referring to the issue of names of 172 persons on Exit Control List, he said special review committee of the Interior Ministry has been directed to review the issue in light of the directions of the Supreme Court. He said the names of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister can again be included in ECL after removal, if NAB believes there is a sufficient reason for it. He, however, made it clear that name of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and other accused will not be removed from JIT report. Briefing journalists on other decisions taken by the cabinet, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Media Affairs Iftikhar Durrani said cabinet also gave approval for the auction of 15 out of twenty ships of Ministry of National Food Security. The cabinet gave approval to supplementary grant of 235 million rupees for government employees who die in service. The Federal cabinet also approved a supplementary grant of 750 million rupees for NAB to increase its capacity of prosecution. It also accorded approval to appoint Amir Azeem, member technical Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to its chairman.