Islamabad: As a tit-for-tat response to the Federal Cabinet’s decision not to remove Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s names from the Exit Control List (ECL), the government of Sindh is considering a ban on federal ministers and the PTI-government’s representatives from entering the province.

Pakistan’s federal cabinet had on Thursday postponed the removal of some 20 names — including the two leaders’ names — from the ECL, despite a verbal direction by the Supreme Court of Pakistan Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.

Taking strong exception to the federal cabinet’s indifference to the Supreme Court’s decision, senior leaders of the PPP have given a go-ahead to their leadership for a similar measure banning entry of the Federal government’s representatives, ministers etc into Sindh.

According to sources in the Sindh government, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his father former president Asif Ali Zardari, have decided to get even and take steps similar to those of the federal government.

However, the sources said, since placing names on the ECL is the sole prerogative of the federal government, the provincial government of Sindh cannot impose any such ban on the federal government officials taking flights from Karachi airport.

Local government minister of the province, Saeed Ghani earlier on Friday threatened to ban federal ministers who used ‘foul language’ against the Sindh government and its people from entering the province.

He said the government [provincial] had the authority to restrict any badmouthing minister from entering Sindh.

“If the federal government has the authority to put names on the ECL, the provincial government also has the authority to ban a few ministers who are causing tension in the province from entering,” he said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had chaired a meeting of the federal cabinet on Thursday to consider removal of some names, particularly of Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah and the PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari from a list of 172 mostly from Sindh.

Interestingly, the Interior Ministry too had recommended removal of 20 names including those of Shah and Bhutto in the light of the Supreme Court’s directions. The cabinet however, delayed a decision in regarding agreeing that first it should see the written orders of the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

In its meeting on Dec 27, 2018 the federal cabinet had decided to place names of 172 suspects of the fake bank accounts and money laundering case, including Asif Ali Zardari, Faryal Talpur, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Murad Ali Shah and many other former ministers and leaders of the PPP on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Bahria Town owner Malik Riaz, his son-in-law Zain Malik, Zardari’s close friends, Omni group’s proprietors’ names are also included in the list.

However, the Supreme Court, which is monitoring the case, had expressed surprise on Dec 31 over placing of the names of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Shah on the ECL and ordered the government to review the decision.