ISLAMABAD  -  Contrary to the rumours that imprisoned PML-N leader and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has finalised a deal with the government for his safe exit from the country, the Ministry of Interior has rejected an application seeking removal of his name from the Exit Control List.

The ministry has also rejected applications of Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz, and his son-in-law Capt (retd) Mohammad Safdar seeking removal of their names from no fly list.

In October last year, Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law had submitted three separate applications to Interior Ministry seeking removal of their names from ECL while citing different legal points. They had approached the ministry after Islamabad High Court (IHC) on September 19, 2018 had suspended the judgement of accountability court in Avenfield corruption reference and released them on bail. The accountability court in its July 6, 2018 verdict had convicted all three by giving different sentences.

The official sources aware of the development informed that Interior Ministry had placed their applications before the Federal Cabinet, a relevant forum to decide ECL cases. After discussion, the cabinet recommended to the ministry that a final decision about removal of their names should be taken after consultations with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)—the anti-corruption watchdog that is pursuing corruption references against Mr Sharif and his family members.

On August 22, 2018, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had their names on ECL on the request of NAB following their conviction in Avenfield reference.

Following instructions of the cabinet, ministry had written to NAB seeking its comments. In response, the bureau opposed their applications seeking removal of their names from ECL. As a result of that, the ministry formally rejected their applications. The official sources confirmed that all three have been informed about the decision. A government official said that they could approach the court against the decision of government.

In their applications, they had taken the plea that their names had been placed on the ECL in violation of various provisions of the Constitution. They said that Article 9 provided that no person shall be deprived of life or liberty.

In December last year, an accountability court in Islamabad had separately sentenced Mr Sharif to seven years in prison in Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference, while the court acquitted him in the Flagship Investment reference.

On last Thursday, three-time former PM was sent back to Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail from the Services Hospital after he rejected, an offer by the Punjab government, to be shifted to any other health facilities in Lahore for treatment of his cardiac disease.

Earlier this week, Hina Pervez Butt, PML-N’s woman lawmaker of Punjab Assembly had submitted a resolution with the assembly secretariat demanding to remove the name of his party leader and former PM from ECL. The resolution also sought permission for Sharif to go abroad for his medical treatment.