SHC orders removal of Musharraf’s name from ECL

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday ordered the removal of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf´s name from the Exit Control List (ECL), however the court has suspended the operation of its order for 15 days.

During this 15 day period, the government may appeal before the Supreme Court against the order. If the government does not appeal in the stipulated time, Musharraf will be free to travel.

A two-judge bench of the SHC comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Shahnawaz Tariq delivered the verdict on the petition against the placement of Musharraf’s name on the ECL.

“The court has allowed our appeal and ordered to strike down Musharraf´s name from the Exit Control List. The order will be executed after 15 days,” said Musharraf’s lawyer Farogh Naseem.

The delayed execution of the order “will give time to the government to appeal in a superior court if they so desire,” he added.

The court had reserved its order on May 29 after the defending counsel Barrister Dr Farogh Naseem, Attorney General of Pakistan Salman Aslam Butt and advocate Maulvi Iqbal Haider, who became a party in the case in favour of keeping Musharraf’s name in the ECL had completed their arguments.

It may be mentioned that the federal government had opposed the petition of the former president and contended that his name had been placed in the ECL on the direction of the Supreme Court in high treason case and high court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain and adjudicate the matter.

Musharraf, 70, flew to Karachi in April to undergo medical tests. He has said he wants the travel ban lifted so he can visit his sick mother in Dubai, but many in Pakistan see it as a ruse to flee the country and avoid the litany of criminal cases against him dating back to his 1999-2008 tenure.

Musharraf was indicted for treason in March over his imposition of emergency rule in 2007 — a case seen as a test of civilian authority in a country long dominated by the military. He also faces several murder cases.