‘State institution recommended placing Gulalai on ECL’, court told

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ISLAMABAD: Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Khalid Mehmood on Tuesday told the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) activist Gulalai Ismail was placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) on the “recommendations of a state institution”.

IHC’s Justice Aamer Farooq conducted the hearing on a petition filed by the social worker through her counsel, challenging the inclusion of her name to the no-fly list by the Interior Ministry.

During the course of proceedings, the petitioner’s counsel, Advocate Suleman, prayed to the court to give interim relief to his client by allowing her to travel abroad as she had to attend two international conferences.

He requested the court to issue orders to the authorities concerned to return the travel documents and passport of his client and also informed the bench that Ismail was advocating for human rights since 2009.

“Does the petitioner want to travel abroad to bring good name to the country?” the bench asked Suleman and directed both Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) as well as DAG to submit a written reply.

The court also sought case records against Ismail from the FIA.

The hearing was then adjourned till November 27.

It is worth mentioning here that a day earlier, IHC Judge Athar Minallah had excused himself from hearing the plea filed by the activist.

While hearing the case on Monday, Justice Minallah had cited personal reasons as a motive and asked to be recused from the case. He had sent a request to the IHC chief justice to transfer the case to another bench.

In a petition filed through counsel Suleman, Ismail had sought to have her name removed from the no-fly list and have her travel documents returned, contending it was in “violation of human rights”.

On October 12, FIA had arrested her from the Islamabad airport on her return from London and detained her briefly at their headquarters, following which her name was placed on ECL.