Musharraf plea for removing name from ECL: SHC directs top officers to comment

KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday issued notice to federal law officer, chief provincial law officer and prosecutor general Sindh, asking them to submit their comments on a application filed by Retired Gen Pervez Musharraf seeking removal of his name form Exit Control List (ECL).

A division bench of SHC, headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, was seized with the hearing of application filed by former army chief, who pleaded the court to modify its earlier order, restraining him from leaving country without permission of trial courts.

Applicant’s counsel AQ Halepota submitted before the court that on March 29, 2013, Musharraf appeared before SHC division bench and requested it for 21-day-transitory bail for enabling him to appear and surrender before the trial courts in two cases pertaining to the killing of Akbar Bugti and Benazir Bhutto.

He told two-judge bench that the court extended his bail for 21 days with the condition that the applicant, Gen Pervez Musharraf, would not leave the country without permission from the trial courts, adding that following the court orders Musharraf’s name was placed on ECL.

AQ Halepota submitted that trial courts had confirmed Musharraf’s bail in two cases pertaining to assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti. He said that former army chief was also granted a bail in case relating to murder of Lal Masjid cleric Ghazi Abdul Rasheed during the army operation on the mosque in 2007.

He said that Musharraf wanted to leave for Dubai to enquire the health of his 95-year-old mother who is seriously ill in Dubai and enable to travel Pakistan. He stated that it was uppermost desire of Musharraf to be with his mother after he had been released on bail in cases against him.

Halepota said that placing the name of former general on Exit Control List (ECL) was violation of fundamental rights. Therefore, he pleaded to the court to modify its earlier order regarding putting his clients name on ECL.

After hearing initial arguments, the SHC bench issued notice to deputy attorney general, advocate general and prosecutor general Sindh to file comments till November 18, 2013.

Meanwhile, a high treason case is still in pending against Musharraf as Federal Investigation Agency has yet to start its proceedings. Supreme Court had referred this case to the federal government to initiate the high treason case against the former army chief for twice holding the Constitution in abeyance.

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