Lahore              -        A division bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday directed the federal government to inform PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz about its decision regarding the removal of her name from the Exit Control List (ECL).

Last Saturday, Maryam had filed the second petition seeking the removal of her name from the no-fly list and one-time permission to travel abroad for six weeks from the date of her departure.

The LHC bench, consisting of Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Anwarul Haq Pannu, conducted hearing of the petition of Maryam who wishes to visit London to inquire after her ailing father Nawaz Sharif’s health.

On December 9, the court, while disposing of the PML-N leader’s first such petition, had directed the government’s review committee to decide the matter within a week.

The division bench asked how long it had been since the issuance of its earlier order. The petitioner’s lawyer Advocate Amjad Pervez replied that it had been two weeks since the directive was issued to the Interior Ministry’s review committee which had taken no decision on the issue as yet despite the fact that the petitioner’s representative had appeared before the committee.

The federal government was represented by Additional Attorney General (AAG) Chaudhry Ishtiaq. A. Khan in the case. To the court’s query regarding the government’s decision on removing her name from the ECL, the AAG submitted that the review committee presented its recommendations to the cabinet which then decided the matter.

Prime minister’s aid and senior lawyer Babar Awan had said last Sunday that the federal cabinet’s sub-committee which dealt with ECL matters had turned down Maryam’s request for removal of her name from the ECL.

“The formal announcement to stop her from travelling abroad will be made by the federal cabinet at its Tuesday’s meeting,” he had said.

Perhaps referring to the above-mentioned statement, Justice Pannu remarked that that he had come to know through media that the government would not allow the PML-N leader to go abroad.

The judge commented, “The government has to take a decision as yet, and they should do so. How are they giving a statement before the decision is still to be taken?” he questioned.

Moreover, the judge asked Maryam’s counsel whether the case is maintainable. He further asked whether this petition was for Maryam Nawaz or Nawaz Sharif. The counsel replied that a summary of Nawaz’s case had been included in Maryam’s petition as both the cases were interconnected.

The court then adjourned the proceedings until December 26.