Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Freedom of Travel is denied when name is placed in ECL

PLJ 2010 Karachi 13 (DB)
Present: Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Aziz Ullah M. Memon, JJ.
Mian MUNIR AHMED--Petitioner
versus
FEDERATION OF PAKISTAN through Secretary Ministry of Interior, Pakistan Secretariat, Islamabad and 2 others--Respondents
Constitutional Petition No. D-91 of 2005, decided on 3.5.2005.
Constitution of Pakistan, 1973--
----Art. 199--Exit From Pakistan (Control) Ordinance, 1981, S. 2--Constitutional petition--Fundamental right of freedom to travel--Request to put petitioner name in the exit control list--Mere pendency of civil/criminal cases against a citizen is no ground to deny fundamental right of freedom to travel within or without Pakistan--No reasons have been given in the notification whereby the petitioner's name was put in the exit control list, which would mean the petitioner had been condemned unheard--Although Government could in exercise of powers available under Section 2 of the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance, 1981, place the name of a citizen on the exit control list, However, such power could not be exercised arbitrarily or without giving right of a fair hearing to a citizen against whom action is proposed to be taken--Petition was allowed.
                [Pp. 14 & 15] A
1989 CLC 79; PLD 1997 Lah. 619; 1998 MLD 490; PLD 1999 Kar. 177; PLD 2003 Pesh. 102; 2003 CLC 246 & PLD 2003 Kar. 708.
Mr. Hassan Akbar, Advocate for petitioner.
Mr. S. Mehmood Alam Rizvi, DAG.
Mr. Shaukat H. Zubedi, DPGA, NAB.
Date of hearing: 3.5.2005.
Order
Learned Counsel for the petitioner submits that admittedly no reason has been given in the notification dated 10.10.1998 issued by the Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control, Government of Pakistan whereby the name of the petitioner was placed in the Exit Control List. However, per copy of the letter of said Ministry filed by the Learned DAG, dated 08.04.2005, the petitioner was placed in the list on the recommendation of FIA/SEP as he was loan defaulter. Per Learned Counsel, according to dated 13.01.2005 of the State Bank ofPakistan filed alongwith the Petition, the petitioner's name was not recommended to be placed in revised ECL forwarded to the Ministry of Finance, on 09.02.2003. Even otherwise per Learned Counsel, it is settled law that mere pendency of criminal and civil matters against a citizen is no ground to deny the freedom as guaranteed by the constitution to travel within or without Pakistan.
Furthermore, per Learned Counsel, according to the list of cases supplied today which were filed against the petitioner viz. 25 in number out of which 19 have been disposed of and 3 of them being criminal cases filed before the Banking Court rest being suits, executions and appeals etc. At the moment, the petitioner is a party in only 6 known civil matters pending before the Courts which relate to the Central Cotton Mills Limited, in which the petitioner was the Director and which has now been wound up by this Court. In this regard he has relied upon Abdul Hafiz Pirzada V/s. Government of Pakistan (1989 CLC 79), Wajid Shamas-ul-Hassan V/s. Federation of Pakistan (PLD 1997 Lahore 617), Arshad Sami Khan V/s. Federation of Pakistan (1998 MLD 490), Saleem Akhtar V/s. Federation of Pakistan (PLD 1999 Karachi 177), Major (Retd) Mir Mazhar Qayyum V/s. Federation of Pakistan (1999 YLR 111), Munawar Ali Sherazi V/s. Federation of Pakistan (PLD 1999 Lahore 459), Babar Khan Ghori V/s. Federation of Pakistan (PLD 1999 Karachi 402), Sikandar Hayat Khan V/s. Government of Pakistan (PLD 2003 Peshawar 102), Mehtab Ahmed V/s. Federation of Pakistan (2003 CLC 246) and Hashmat Ali Chawla V/s. Federation of Pakistan (PLD 2003 Karachi 705).
For all the foregoing reasons, Learned Counsel has prayed that the Petition be allowed as prayed.
Learned DAG and the Learned DPGA, NAB have only submitted that the petitioner's name has been put in the ECL since he was loan defaulter and the cases are pending against him.
We have heard the Learned Counsel for the petitioner. Learned DAG and Learned DPGA, NAB. It would be seen that as per settled law mere pendency of civil/criminal cases against a citizen is no ground to deny  him  fundamental  right  of  freedom  to  travel  within  or  without Pakistan. Similarly, it would be seen that no reasons have been given in the notification whereby the petitioners name was put in the Exit Control List, which would mean the petitioner had been condemned unheard. Although Government could in exercise of powers available under Section 2 of the Exit From Pakistan (Control) Ordinance, 1981 place the name of a citizen on the Exit Control list. However, such power could not be exercised arbitrarily or without giving right of a fair hearing to a citizen against whom action is proposed to be taken a.
In view of the foregoing observations, we are of the opinion that this Petition should be allowed to the extent that the petitioner may go abroad and return to Pakistan freely as the Learned Counsel has not pressed the challenge to vires of the Ordinance mentioned above. Order accordingly.
(S.S.)       Petition allowed.

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