TERENCE J SIGAMONY
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court dismissed the National Accountability Bureau’s petition to put Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif’s name in the Exit Control List (ECL).
A two judge bench, comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Muneeb Akhtar on Tuesday heard the NAB’s application to place Shehbaz Sharif’s name on the ECL in the assets beyond means case.
During the proceeding, Justice Muneeb Akhtar said the travel ban on Shehbaz Sharif was unnecessary at the time of the high court’s orders.
Referring to the judgment announced in Justice Qazi Faez Isa and the bar councils and associations’ petitions against the presidential reference, he said: “The apex court has interpreted anti-money laundering laws.”
“Suspicions transactions do no come under corruption. NAB did not even bother to read the verdict of Justice Isa’s case.”
“It is known that the accountability court has jurisdiction, but NAB included Shehbaz Sharif’s name in the ECL during the inquiry,” the top court remarked.
“Did Shehbaz Sharif escape after his name was removed from the ECL? Shehbaz Sharif is not a person whom no one knows and would flee.”
Dismissing the NAB’s appeal, the apex court said that the NAB prosecutor could not identify the culprit in the high court’s decision.
At the onset of the hearing, the NAB Prosecutor, Jehanzeb Bharwana, prayed before the court that Shehbaz committed corruption due to suspicious transactions. “The NAB is also empowered under anti-money laundering law. Many accused escape at inquiry level. Six are absconding in Shehbaz’s reference,” added the NAB prosecutor.
Bharwana added that the PML-N president’s name was removed from the ECL on the orders of the LHC, but now much progress had been made in the case.
On October 9, the federal cabinet granted approval for including the names of the PML-N President, Shehbaz Sharif, his family members, and several other accused standing trial in the NAB reference of money laundering involving a sum of over Rs7 billion, on the ECL.