New govt amends ECL rules, removes thousands of names from list

Federal Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah Khan addressing a press conference in Islamabad on bringing a paradigm change in Exit from Pakistan (Control) Rules 2010 to provide relief to the masses. — PID

ISLAMABAD: The newly-elected government amended rules related to the Exit Control List (ECL) and removed the names of several thousand people from the list, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah announced Friday.

Addressing his maiden press conference at the Interior Ministry, the minister said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had formed a committee to update the rules of including a person’s name in the ECL.

Sanaullah said: “Therefore, with a quick pace, federal minister Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Asad Mehmood, Naveed Qamar, and Azam Nazeer Tarrar put forth their suggestions and the cabinet has approved it.”

Elaborating further, the interior minister said if a person’s name has been on the exit list for more than 120 days then their name would be automatically removed from the ECL. “…a total of 4,863 are in the list, and with this intervention, around 3,000 people’s names have been removed.”

The interior minister said the government could extend the duration of the cap by 90 days if it believes of having had evidence against a person.

“The government will have to present the said evidence before the ECL committee, and once they approve it, the duration will be moved forward.”

Sanaullah said following people would not be exempted:

  • Individuals involved in terrorism
  • People considered a threat to national security
  • If their names have been added to ECL by any court
  • People involved in terrorism large-scale public cheating

Moving on, the interior minister said 30,000 people were placed on the black list and the Provisional National Identification List (PNIL). He added that since the number of people on the lists is huge, there will be changes to them as well in the next few weeks.

Sanaullah said that since 60-65% of the people have been removed from the ECL, a similar move would be made in regards to the other lists as well.

Imran Khan to get security

The interior ministry noted that since there were threats to former prime minister Imran Khan, foolproof security has been provided to the PTI chairman.

“The same security that his principal secretary Azam Khan had approved has been given […] rangers, Frontier Corps, bulletproof cars, and other requirements have been provided,” he said.

The interior ministry assured that despite PTI being the incumbent government’s political rivals, the current regime would ensure the provision of security to Khan and his allies.

‘There should be no foreign interference’

He also added that following the conclusion of the National Security Committee’s (NSC) meeting, a press release has been issued and PM Shehbaz Sharif has directed government officials to not discuss it further.

“…but I will tell you this, there is a consensus that there was no conspiracy against Imran Khan,” the interior minister said.

Sanaullah said he saw the letter sent to ex-Pakistan ambassador to Washington Dr Asad Majeed Khan and no one’s name was written on it, rejected Khan’s claim of his name being included in it.

“There should be no foreign interference in a country’s matters,” he added.

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