SC dismisses NAB’s appeal to add Shehbaz Sharif’s name in ECL

The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday dismissed the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB’s) appeal to include Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif’s name in the Exit Control List (ECL).

A two-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, presided the hearing of NAB’s petition against the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) decision to remove Shehbaz’s name from the no-fly list in the assets beyond means case.

NAB Prosecutor Jahanzeb Bharwana prayed upon the court that Shehbaz committed corruption due to suspicious transactions, “NAB is also empowered under anti-money laundering law. Many accused escape at inquiry level. Six are absconding in Shehbaz’s reference,” the NAB prosecutor further added.

Bharwana added that PML-N president’s name was removed from the ECL on the orders of the LHC, but now much progress has been made in the case.

To this, Justice Muneeb Akhtar remarked that the travel ban on Shehbaz Sharif was unnecessary at the time of the high court’s orders.

“The court [SC] has interpreted anti-money laundering laws,” the judge said referring to Justice Faiz Isa’s case. “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.

On October 9, the federal cabinet granted approval for including the names of PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif, his family members and several other accused standing trial in NAB reference of money laundering involving a sum of over Rs7 billion on the ECL.

This article originally appeared on The Express Tribune