Govt challenges removal of model’s name from ECL, again



ISLAMABAD: The interior ministry approached the Supreme Court for a second time on Thursday to challenge the June 2 Sindh High Court (SHC) order for removing the name of model Ayyan Ali from the Exit Control List (ECL).

The first time the ministry had come to the Supreme Court was on April 2 when it challenged March 7’s SHC judgement that called for removing the model’s name from the ECL.

Earlier the government had pleaded that Ayyan Ali, arrested on money laundering charges, had deprived her of any discretionary relief by committing a serious offence and suppressing material facts.

The model was arrested on March 14, 2014, at Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad while trying to travel abroad and carrying foreign currency worth $506,800 without permission of the State Bank of Pakistan and without any lawful excuse why she was taking the money abroad.

On April 25 while hearing a contempt of court petition filed by Ayyan Ali, the Supreme Court had asked her to approach the SHC for agitating against placement of her name on the ECL for the second time, a few hours after its removal from the list.

Soon after the April 13 Supreme Court verdict of upholding the March 7 SHC order for removing the model’s name from the ECL, her name was removed from the list on April 11. But it was placed again on the list at the request of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

The model is facing trial on money laundering charges in a customs court.

Now in the fresh petition filed through Advocate Faiz-ur- Rehman, the ministry pleaded that the June 2 high court order was not sustainable under the law since the name of the model had been placed on the list in accordance with ECL Rules 2010 and ECL policy notified on Sept 16, 2015.

Referring to the uploading of the list of persons on the ECL at the ministry’s website as directed by the high court, the appeal contended that the exercise might create social and cultural problems for such persons as society would demonstrate hate to them whether they were guilty or not.

“Thus the findings of the high court in this regard are based on conjectural presumption, wrong proposition of law, misreading and non-consideration on material evidence and erroneous assumption of facts as a result an unreasonable view has been taken by the high court,” the petition said.

The high court could not issue suo motu directives for placing information on the website particularly when no request had been made to that effect, it said. The factual controversy could not be decided without recording evidence pro and contra and hence the findings could not be given, the petition said.

Ayyan Ali’s name was placed on the ECL by the ministry through a Nov 20, 2015 memorandum, which was challenged by the model in the high court.

Consequently the SHC set aside and struck down the memorandum. The ministry challenged the SHC verdict in the Supreme Court which dismissed the petition on April 13 by holding that the apprehension that removal of the name of Ayyan Ali, who had been charged with committing serious offences, from the ECL would amount to letting her off for good, was misconceived.

The model’s name had been put on the ECL for the second time on account of personal liability to pay Rs52.9 million at the request of FBR, the petition said.