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June 13, 2018

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Cabinet considers placing Sharifs on ECL today

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet will today (Wednesday) consider the recommendation of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for placing former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and other members on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Caretaker Federal Law Minister Syed Ali Zafar said this while talking to The News at the President House after an Iftar-dinner hosted by President Mamnoon Hussain on Tuesday.

The minister said a sub-committee of three ministers, comprising the interior minister, law minister and finance minister, will meet before the federal cabinet meeting to review the NAB reference for submission to the cabinet.

Earlier, the minister told some ambassadors/high commissioners that the federal cabinet will consider, in today’s meeting, placing Nawaz Sharif and other members of his family on the ECL.

The high commissioners of Australia and ambassador of Austria were also present. Interestingly, the six-member cabinet will take the decision on half of the cabinet members' advice. The minister said the federal cabinet would obviously discuss the matter as it was quite significant.

He hinted that the cabinet might approve the NAB recommendation for placing the Sharifs names on the ECL but said the ultimate decision would be taken by the cabinet. Earlier, caretaker Minister for Interior Muhammad Azam Khan told this correspondent that the cabinet wouldn’t consider placing the Sharif family on the ECL since it was not part of the agenda.

The matter could be referred to the next sitting of the federal cabinet that will meet early next week and before that the three ministers' committee will consider the proposal of NAB, he said. The interior minister made it clear that Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Capt. Safdar could go abroad as long their names were not put on the ECL.

To a query, the minister said Zulfi Bukhari, a close buddy of PTI chairman Imran Khan, was on the blacklist of the Interior Ministry and hence he couldn’t travel abroad. Khan approached the Interior Ministry on Monday when Zulfi was not allowed to board the plane for traveling to Saudi Arabia with Khan. “The interior secretary consulted me before taking action and I allowed him to grant him permission for the same. Imran Khan didn’t call me or any other high up,” he added.

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