Federal cabinet role in ECL challenged


LAHORE, Oct 20 (TNS): The role of the federal cabinet in placing or removing names from the Exit Control List (ECL) has been challenged in the Lahore High Court for being an uncalled for step.

Through a writ petition, lawyer Munir Ahmad questions the procedure for inclusion or exclusion of names from the ECL saying the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance, 1981 needs to be regulated in view of fundamental rights as guaranteed under the Constitution.

He pleads that the Ministry of Interior’s working is very slow and outdated as most of times when courts permitted exclusion of name of a person from the ECL temporarily or permanently the ministry delays strategy as it always presents a summary regarding inclusion or exclusion of name from the ECL before the federal cabinet for approval.

Sometime, the petitioner contends, the federal cabinet keeps sitting on such summaries despite directions issued by courts for inclusion or exclusion of names from the ECL. He argues that the courts’ directions need to be implemented in letter and spirit by the interior ministry without the role of the cabinet.

The lawyer argues that in view of settled laws to place or delete someone’s name from the ECL, the power rests with the federal government and that power has to be exercised by secretary interior or any subordinate officer.

In any case the federal cabinet has no power to interfere in this matter as it is independent and exclusive power of the interior ministry, he adds.

The petitioner asks the court to declare that exercise of authority and jurisdiction through cabinet, which is abusing the power of federal government in pursuance of provision of the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance, 1981 are not only illegal but without jurisdiction and beyond the scope of the Constitution.

He pleads that directions may be given to the interior ministry to process each and every case within the scope of the ECL Ordinance, without any hindrance or interruption by the federal cabinet.

He also asks the court to summon policy details from the government as well as procedure regarding the process of inclusion or exclusion of names of citizens from the ECL.