ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court Tuesday reserved its verdict in a petition of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari seeking removal of his name from the ECL.

A division bench of the IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani conducted hearing of the petition of Bukhari who moved the court through his counsel Advocate Sikandar Bashir and had invoked the IHC jurisdiction for removal of his name form no-fly list.

The IHC dual bench reserved the judgment after hearing arguments of all sides in this matter.

During the proceedings, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) submitted a list of documents required from Bukhari to complete the probe into his alleged illegal assets case.

At this Justice Aamer Farooq remarked that looks like Zulfi Bukhari did not give you any information. To which the NAB investigator replied, “Yes we did not get any information.”

The court also questioned that why the NAB had permitted Bukhari to go abroad. Justice Farooq observed that by giving Zulfi Bukhari permission to go abroad once, they opposed their own stand.

A representative of the interior ministry also apprised the court that a summary was sent to the federal cabinet regarding NAB’s recommendation to give Bukhari permission to travel abroad once.

Then, Justice Kayani remarked that NAB does not want to keep Bukhari’s name on the ECL. NAB special prosecutor Imran Shafique said that it is not like that, they have only recommended removing [his] name once. Following the conclusion of the arguments, the court reserved its verdict in this matter.

The petitioner cited chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB), federal interior secretary, director general (DG) Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and others as respondents.

In the petition, Bukhari submitted that placing his name in the Exit Control List (ECL) was violation of human right and urged the court to suspend notification of the interior ministry in the matter.

He requested the court to issue directives to the concerned authorities to return his travelling documents.

It this matter, the federal interior ministry had placed Bukhari’s name on the ECL in response to a request of NAB on August 04. NAB is probing into allegations against Bukhari for having assets beyond his source of income. Bukhari is also accused of owning offshore companies in the British Virgin Island.

In his petition, Zulfi Bukhari contended that he is a British citizen of Pakistani origin and is currently living in Islamabad while his spouse and children are domiciled in the UK where his business interests are managed from.

The petitioner stated that he had been cooperating with the Bureau in connection with its inquiry against him, yet his name was placed on the no-fly-list.

He argued that Section 3 of the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance, 1981, provides for a right of review for any order made by the federal government, however, such a review only creates an illusory remedy.

Zulfi said that he filed a representation and review petition and despite passage of about two months, the review petition of the petitioner has neither been put up for the cabinet, nor decision has been taken thereon by the federal government.

Therefore, he prayed to the court to direct the interior ministry to remove his name from the ECL.