LAHORE - Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz was prevented from boarding a Doha-bound flight late Monday night following placement of his name on exit control list (ECL).

Hamza Shehbaz was going to London to see his younger brother Salman Shehbaz through Qatar Airways which had to depart at 3am for the first stopover at Doha.

At the immigration counter of the airport, Hamza was stopped from boarding the plane. The FIA staffers at the counter informed Hamza that his name was placed on black list. However, later it was disclosed that his name was on the exit control list (ECL). Leader of the opposition was told at the immigration counter that he could not leave the country since investigation by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was going on against him. Hamza told the immigration officers that presently he was not wanted by the NAB in any case so they should allow him to travel abroad. However, he was not permitted to board the plane.

Father of Hamza Shehbaz, former Punjab chief minister and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, is also in judicial custody after he served 65 days in NAB office Lahore. Shehbaz, also President of the PML-N, is facing inquiry into Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Project.

Hamza, who reportedly is the principal shareholder in Ramzan Sugar Mills, is being probed by NAB on charges of keeping resources beyond known means of income. Hamza has been appearing on call before the NAB in a case that accused him of, among others, constructing road leading to the said mills at the expense of Rs 200million of the national exchequer. He has also been interrogated by NAB in Saaf Paani case. The NAB had summoned Hamza and Salman on November 9 last when he appeared alone since Salman had by then left for London.

Hamza has been given protective bail by Lahore High Court against arrest while appearing before the NAB in its regional office.

The PML-N has resented the act of putting Hamza’s name on the ECL and denying him travel abroad. The PPP has also expressed concern over the NAB act against Hamza Shehbaz.

The PML-N leadership which had a painful day Tuesday had a meeting to take the situation into account. The party leaders met in Islamabad and Lahore and discussed the situation. The PML-N sources say the party is consulting the legal team to move Lahore High Court against putting name of Hamza Shehbaz on the ECL which, it believes, has been done by the interior ministry on the request of the NAB.