Islamabad: Hours after the Pakistan government said the decision to remove the name of ex-premier Nawaz Sharif from the Exit Control List (ECL) will depend upon the recommendation of National Accountability Bureau, the agency on Monday said a competent government authority should handle such matters.
Firdous Ashiq Awan, chief spokesperson for the government, earlier in the day, said that the decision to remove Sharif’s name from the no-fly list will be taken in light of recommendations of the NAB and the medical board, Dawn News reported.
“The government itself does not place any individual’s name on the ECL. Names are placed on the ECL on the recommendations given by NAB and the courts. Now that an application has been filed for the name to be removed, the same process is being followed,” she said.
“Hopefully, today we will receive NAB’s recommendations. NAB is the plaintiff in this case, he (Nawaz) is a suspect in [a case being probed by] NAB and was convicted by an accountability court,” she added.
In a response submitted to the interior ministry, NAB said that “the federal government is the competent authority to remove names from the ECL,” Asim Ali Nawazish, a spokesperson for the bureau, told DawnNewsTV.
Sharif, 69, was admitted to the Services Hospital in Lahore on October 22 from Pakistan’s anti-graft body’s custody after his platelets dropped to a critically low level of 2,000.
According to Pakistani media reports, the former premier is likely to travel abroad along with his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif, who is the president of PML-N.
Nawaz had earlier insisted on getting treated only in Lahore.
The Islamabad High Court had last week granted bail to Sharif for eight weeks, suspending his seven-year sentence in the Al Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference on medical grounds. Earlier, he had also secured bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case from the Lahore High Court on the same ground.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) representative Marriyum Aurangzeb on Sunday expressed concern over the delay.
The federal government and NAB are both hesitant to take off Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL), a move that could hinder the former prime minister from flying to London next week to seek further treatment, sources told Geo News.
The government is also refraining from using its authority to take Sharif’s name off the list, however, the sources added that in the past, the interior ministry took off several names from the no-fly list without taking accountability watchdog into confidence.
The medical board formed by the government had earlier suggested allowing the ailing former prime minister to seek medical treatment abroad.