ISLAMABAD - The National Accountability Bureau Wednesday submitted its reply in a petition of former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf seeking removal of his name from the Exit Control List (ECL).

The NAB adopted in its reply that his petition is not maintainable under the law hence liable to be dismissed being infructuous.

It added: “In the light of the judgment reported as 2019 YLR 781, the petitioner must approach the learned Accountability Court for removal of his name from ECL, as several references have been filed before the Accountability Court Islamabad whereupon charge has been framed, trial commenced and the same is ripe up for conclusion necessitating the petitioner’s presence at the time of production of evidence as well as statement under Section 342 CrPC. In this view of the matter, there is grave apprehension of absconsion.”

The NAB maintained that the petitioner has invoked the constitutional jurisdiction of this court before availing the alternate remedies available to him under the law on the subject.

In this matter, a division bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani will conduct hearing of the petition today (Thursday) wherein it had summoned additional secretary interior to appear before the court in person for not submitting the reply in this matter.

During the hearing, Justice Kayani had remarked that despite the notices, the interior ministry did not submit its reply. He said that this attitude is not acceptable.

In his petition, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Raja Pervez Ashraf sough removal of his name from the ECL while his counsel Farooq Naek contended before the bench that since the accountability court’s judge, Mohammad Bashir, was on leave and the former PM was scheduled to attend a conference abroad, the court should pass an order to the interior ministry for the removal of his client’s name from the ECL.

However, the NAB prosecutor informed the court that Judge Bashir would resume his duties on September 6. At this, Advocate Naek argued that the international conference was scheduled to be held on September 6 and Ashraf needed to be there well before this date.