Senate body approves bill to amend ECL law


–Interior Ministry to inform suspect about placement of name on ECL within two days

–Rehman Malik orders report on names put on ECL by NAB, FIA

–Rabbani says MoI doesn’t have powers to put names on ECL


ISLAMABAD: The Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior on Monday approved a bill to amend the law governing the Exit Control List (ECL) amid voices of dissent from the Interior Ministry.

Former chairman of the Upper House, Raza Rabbani presented the ‘Exit from Pakistan (Control) (Amendment) Act, 2018’ during a meeting of the committee.

According to recommendations outlined in the Act, a person whose name has been placed on the list should be informed within one day, and the person should be able to file a review of the decision within 15 days.

Moreover, he added, if there was no decision taken within this time period then the name should be considered removed from the no-fly list. He also noted that the Ministry of Interior does not have the authority to place names on ECL, as giving discretionary powers to any person or office is “not correct”.

He cited his personal opinion that the authority to place names on the list should only be with the federal cabinet.

During the session, the committee’s chairman, Rehman Malik demanded a detailed report on the names of people that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and other institutions were placing on ECL.

Referring to a Supreme Court ruling, he asserted that the federal government should be in consultation with the cabinet before placing or removing names from the no-fly list.

“It is happening that one is let go and the other is stopped. We cannot let anyone pick and choose names for ECL”, he added.

The committee then approved the amendment bill, although the interior ministry was not in favour of it.

It is pertinent to mention that last week, the federal government had put 172 names on ECL. The list included Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto, party’s Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, presidents of a number of local banks, and other former ministers and bureaucrats.