Customs official’s widow opposes removal of model’s name from ECL



ISLAMABAD: The case of model Ayyan Ali took a new turn on Monday when the widow of a slain Customs inspector moved the Supreme Court to become a party in the interior ministry’s petition in opposing removal of the model’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL).

Filed through Advocate Shafqat Munir Malik on behalf of Saima Ejaz, the widow of Ejaz Mehmood, the petition requests the court to keep the model’s name in the ECL until the Customs official’s murder case is decided.

The court is already seized with an appeal of the ministry assailing the June 2 Sindh High Court (SHC) order to remove Ms Ali’s name from the list.

On March 14, 2015, Customs officials recovered $506,800 from the suitcase of Ms Ali when she was leaving the country, upon which an FIR was registered. Investigating Officer Mohammad Saleem deposited the amount in the warehouse and Mr Mehmood, being in-charge of the warehouse, took the case in his hands.

On June 2, 2015, when Mr Mehmood was present in his house, two gunmen entered the house and fired shots at Mr Mehmood. He was taken to the Benazir Bhutto Hospital in Rawalpindi where he was declared dead in what the petition said a mysterious way.

Subsequently, a murder case was registered by Waris Khan police station in Rawalpindi under Sections 302 and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The petitioner alleges that her husband was killed at the behest of the model because he was the custodian of the case property and under continuous threat and pressure to manoeuvre and manipulate the evidence to favour Ms Ali. But Mr Mehmood refused to succumb to the pressure.

Earlier Ms Saima moved an application under Section 22-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure in the court of the sessions judge of Rawalpindi. During the proceedings, the judge ordered Manzar Abbas, investigation officer of the murder case, to record statements of the petitioner and the brother of the deceased.

Subsequently Ms Saima recorded her statement in which she nominated Ms Ali and two others in the murder case of her husband, the petition says. The model prima facie is connected with the offence and therefore must be arrested and dealt with in accordance with the law, it adds.

It says that after obtaining bail in the currency-related case, the model has been desperately trying to go abroad beyond the control of the state of Pakistan to thwart the course of justice.

Therefore, the petitioner filed an application with the interior ministry requesting it to put the name of the model in the ECL but no action was taken on the application.

The petition says that the model is allegedly planning to go abroad to avoid joining the investigation in the murder case.

Under the law, she is under legal obligation to first apply for bail from the trial court and prove her innocence and then is at liberty to go anywhere she wants to, it contends.

If the appellant is not allowed to be impleaded as a co-appellant in the ministry’s petition, she may suffer an irreparable loss, the petition says.

Meanwhile in a related development, Ms Ali has filed a contempt of court petition in the Supreme Court seeking punishment to the government employees who have allegedly overturned the SHC orders by not removing her name from the ECL.