Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif was stopped by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from leaving the country earlier today. According to the FIA, Sharif’s name is on the Person-Not-In-List (PNIL), which means that persons who are not on Exit Control List (ECL) or on black list can be stopped through PNIL. On Friday, the Lahore High Court (LHC) said Shehbaz has “one time” permission to fly abroad for medical treatment. Sharif was all set to take a flight to London but the FIA stopped him at immigration at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore.
Talking to The Current, PML-N leader Attaullah Tarar said that this is a blatant violation of court orders despite FIA officials being present in court. “Such pettiness on behalf of the government has only exposed their nefarious designs.” Tarar, who is also part of the legal team in Sharif’s case, said that if this delay gives the prime minister satisfaction for a few days, “let him be happy”.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that Director General (DG) FIA has the authority to remove a name from a black list. “Shehbaz Sharif’s lawyers have not submitted any application to DG FIA to remove his [Sharif’s] name from the blacklist.” Chaudhry added that communicating something verbally does not mean there will be any change in the record. “The government will move the court against this decision.”
Talking to the media, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the FIA has added Sharif’s name in another list. She said that despite written order by the LHC, stopping Shehbaz Sharif from travelling is tantamount to contempt of court. Marriyum Aurangzeb added that now we are being told by the FIA that the system has not been updated even though there were two FIA officials present in court when the LHC granted Sharif permission to travel abroad.