Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif lands in hot waters

Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif lands in hot waters

ISLAMABAD - The Federal Cabinet on Thursday directed the Interior Ministry to place the name of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif on the Exit Control List (ECL).

The cabinet members approved it through a circulation summary a day after recommendation was sent by a sub-committee in this regard.

On Wednesday, a sub-committee of the federal cabinet accepted a request sent by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) seeking placement of name of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif's name on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed, flanked by Special Assistant to PM on Accountability Shahzad Akabar, in a press conference said that Shahbaz may file a review petition within five days with the interior ministry.

The committee has sent the recommendation to the federal cabinet, which will take a final decision in this regard, the interior minister said.

Akbar said that the former Punjab chief minister is facing various corruption cases, which could face delay if he goes abroad.

Talking about Hudaibiya Papers Mills case, he said that the Sharif brothers were not acquitted in the case but it was closed for technical reasons.

On Tuesday, NAB has sent a letter to the Interior Ministry, asking it to put the name of PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has confirmed that his ministry had received the letter. He said that a joint meeting of the interior and law ministries would be held tomorrow to decide on the matter.

After the meeting, the suggestions would be sent the federal cabinet for final approval.

The interior minister said he did not know about the legal standing of the matter as the Lahore High Court (LHC) had earlier allowed Shehbaz to fly abroad on medical grounds.

On Saturday, Shehbaz Sharif was off-loaded from a flight leaving for Doha on Saturday morning.

Shehbaz was scheduled to leave for Doha from the Lahore airport today onboard a foreign airline.

As the PML-N leader showed up to the airport early morning, the airline issued him a boarding card. However, when he arrived at the immigration counter, he was told he could not board the plane.

Shehbaz informed them about the high court order for his one-time travel permit. PML-N leader Ata Tarar also read out the judicial order to the officials.

The immigration officials said: "Your name is still on the blacklist. And, it [the blacklist available with them] has not been updated so far."

Shehbaz asked the immigration officials to hand him the reason in writing. The officials gave him the off-load form that reads: 'Offload by immigration.'

On Friday, the Lahore High Court (LHC) allowed Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif to fly abroad for medical treatment.