–Cabinet rejects PML-N leader’s plea as there’s no provision in law for ‘allowing a convict to travel abroad’
–Firdous announces special financial package for LoC victims
ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday rejected Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz’s plea seeking permission to fly abroad to tend to her ailing father, refusing to take her name off from the Exit Control List (ECL).
The decision comes days after the Lahore High Court (LHC) directed the federal cabinet to inform the PML-N leader of its decision on the matter.
The PML-N vice-president was arrested in August by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with an investigation pertaining to the Chaudhry Sugar Mills. She was granted post-arrest bail by an LHC bench against two surety bonds worth Rs20 million and deposit of an additional Rs70 million. She was also ordered to surrender her passport to secure release.
Addressing a press conference along with following the meeting of the cabinet, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the meeting unanimously rejected the PML-N VP’s request for permission to travel abroad.
Interestingly, Firdous avoided discussion on the matter until a reporter specifically asked her about it. Replying to his question, she, in a veiled reference to Maryam, said, “The cabinet unanimously rejected the request to remove the name from the ECL of the VIP personality you are inquiring about.”
PM’s aide said that the interior ministry brought 24 cases before the cabinet in the meeting in which no “VIP’s name” was highlighted. “Out of the total 24, the government decided to add four names to the ECL, remove eight names, while the decision on eight cases was deferred and the request to remove one name [Maryam’s] was rejected,” she said, adding that there should be one and uniform law in Pakistan without any special treatment.
Responding to another question, the government spokesperson said that the cabinet had decided to remove the name of Nawaz Sharif from the ECL after “clear instructions” were given by the high court. “The court had recommended that the cabinet remove his name from the ECL and court orders were honoured,” she said, adding that in Maryam’s case the recommendation of the sub-committee was endorsed.
“The sub-committee has decided against allowing a convict to leave Pakistan. There is no such provision in the law. If anyone wants this condition included then the matter will have to be taken up in parliament,” she added.
It is worth mentioning here that the cabinet sub-committee was directed by the LHC to review Maryam’s plea seeking the return of her passport and one-time permission to fly to London for six weeks to see her ailing father. The LHC will once again take up the petition of the PML-N leader on December 26.
On Sunday, PTI leader Babar Awan had announced that the subcommittee of the federal cabinet that deals with ECL cases had rejected Maryam’s plea. “The subcommittee is part of the cabinet and a formal announcement to bar Maryam from travelling abroad will be made by the federal cabinet in its meeting [on Tuesday],” he had added.
Speaking on the cabinet’s 20-point agenda, Firdous also shared various decisions taken regarding appointments in different government departments.
‘SPECIAL PACKAGE FOR LOC VICTIMS’:
Firdous also informed the media that the cabinet has approved a special financial package to facilitate people living along the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). She said that 33,498 families, who are direct victims of Indian firing along LOC, would get Rs5,000 each on a quarterly basis under this package.
She also said that the cabinet has approved a one-time import of polio finger marker from India on the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Firdous said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has also directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) chairman to take immediate steps to clear garbage and waste from Islamabad.
She said that the cabinet has also approved reforms in tax laws and the prime minister has directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to prepare a public-friendly mechanism to facilitate common people.