ISLAMABAD   -  The federal cabinet Wednesday sent the names of 172 individuals – including Pakistan People’s Party leaders Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari – to a review committee to reconsider their travel ban.

Last week, the federal cabinet had placed these 172 people on the Exit Control List. The travel ban was imposed on all the people mentioned in the Joint Investigation Team in the fake accounts and money-laundering cases.

On December 24, the JIT, formed on the apex court’s orders to probe the alleged money-laundering case, presented its 128-page final report to the court which included recommendations for filing 16 NAB references.

The report mentioned that earlier 29 fake accounts were identified by the Federal Investigation Agency which laundered Rs42 billion. The team further discovered 11,500 bank accounts of 924 account holders, 59 Suspicious Transaction Reports and 24,500 Cash Transactions Reports. All of these details were scrutinised, besides the loan profile of 924 individuals.

The report concluded that the fake accounts were opened through the Omni Group and had been engaged with direct transactions with the Zardari Group, Bahria Town, Sindh government departments and certain contractors while the ultimate beneficiary of money-laundering was Zardari’s family.

Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur, former president of Summit Bank Hussain Lawai and Omni Group’s Anwar Majeed, property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain, his son-in-law Zain Malik and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah were prominent among those placed on the ECL.

Zardari, the co-Chairman of the PPP, warned that he will fight against the government in courts and everywhere else with full force and strength after the ECL decision.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the list containing the names of 172 individuals will be sent to the review committee, working under the interior ministry.

Speaking at a news conference after the cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the minister said the Supreme Court had asked the federal government to review the ECL decision so “list will be reviewed as per the court orders.”

Chaudhry said the committee will brief the federal cabinet next week and a decision will be taken on its recommendations.

The minister said the Statistics Division had been directed to monitor the prices of items of daily use regularly and brief the cabinet on weekly basis. He said the Division will monitor and collect data on prices of items of daily use in 76 markets and 40 cities and will submit its report to federal cabinet.

He said the cabinet also decided to expedite the privatization of five units including Haveli Bahadur Shah, Lakhra Coal Mine, Services Hotel Lahore, divestment of government shares in petroleum companies and K-Electric.

“The cabinet has also established a committee of Land Bank headed by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak. It will identify 150 prime properties for use in various public sector projects and submit its report to the cabinet in its next meeting. The minister said 9442 kanals of unused land has been identified at the federal level, 56000 kanal in Punjab and 5258 kanal in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa so far,” he said.

Chaudhry said cabinet also accorded approval to three additional posts of judges in Islamabad High Court. “It will increase the number of judges from 6 to nine, in addition to Chief Justice,” he added.

The minister said a Poverty Alleviation Coordination Council has been established that will work under Dr Sania Nishtar. He said the Council had been tasked to coordinate the activities of various institutions at federal and provincial level in poverty alleviation.

The minister said the additional customs duty for offshore exploration companies in order to create a more favorable environment for foreign investment into the country.

He said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government aimed to levy tax on income, and not on the companies doing investment.

To a question on Karachi, Fawad Chaudhry said the city was an economic hub of the country and people of the city have entrusted the policies of the incumbent government by voting it. He said a high powered committee has been constituted for the development of the metropolis.

He said the cabinet approved a sum of Rs2.8 billion for the construction of FC Headquarters in South and North zones of Balochistan.

He said the export duty on jaggery has been brought down to 2.5 per cent to enhance local production and export of the commodity. He added an amount of 130 million euro as loan has been approved for Bus Rapid Transport in Peshawar.

The cabinet also approved $5 million grant for the Dubai Expo and reformation of Quaid-e-Azam Mazar Management Board.

The meeting has approved provision of Euro 130 million soft loan by the French Development Agency to Pakistan for certain development projects including the Peshawar Sustainable Rapid Transit Corridor Project.

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan presided over the meeting of federal cabinet to review a 20-point agenda including placing names of 172 people on the ECL.

The agenda also included inspection of an agreement between China and Pakistan over exchange of prisoners in their custody. Furthermore, the cabinet approved an agreement between Pakistan and Japan to increase their defense capabilities.

The Ministry of States and Frontier Regions shared information with the cabinet members ahead of approval of funds for rehabilitation of the tribal areas.

Regarding allotment of 32 kanal land to the Intelligence Bureau by the Capital Development Authority, the first installment was approved.

A memorandum of understanding was approved concerning the Agriculture sector of Pakistan. The Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development got an approval for an agreement with Azerbaijan over labour force.