Islamabad - The Islamabad High Court Thursday deferred hearing in a petition of former DG ISI Lt General Muhammad Asad Durrani seeking removal of his name from the Exit Control List (ECL).

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani conducted a hearing of the petition by Durrani. However, no court proceedings could be held due to non-availability of deputy attorney general and the court adjourned the hearing till January 24 for further proceedings in this connection.

Previously, representative of Defense Ministry Director Law Branch Falak Naz had told the court that Durrani had written a book along with the former chief of the Indian spy agency. He said that Durrani had remained the DG Military Intelligence and the DG ISI and there was a pending inquiry against him in GHQ. The court asked when the inquiry would be completed. Naz said that he could not speculate about when the inquiry would be completed, and added that Durrani had also been a part of the 2012 Asghar Khan case regarding the distribution of money to politicians. At this, the former DG ISI’s lawyer Omar said that they were not sent any notice regarding the inquiry. He added that the former DG ISI was once called to the GHQ headquarters for tea, during which only a casual conversation took place.

Durrani’s counsel also pointed out that in the Asghar Khan Case, General (Retd) Aslam Baig’s name was not placed on the ECL. He argued that his client had to go overseas for a conference on November 26 and 27, and his name should be removed from the ECL. Justice Kayani said that until the GHQ inquiry report and Interior Ministry’s reply were submitted, nothing could be done and had directed Defense Ministry to submit inquiry report of GHQ against him. The former DG ISI approached the court through his counsel Omer Farouk Adam Advocate and cited Secretary Interior Ministry, Secretary Defense and Qalandar Khan Section officer (ECL) Ministry of Interior as respondents.

The petitioner stated in his petition that he retired from the army in the year 1993 as a three star general since then he has served as Pakistan’s ambassador to Germany and Saudi Arabia while he has numerously represented Pakistan in various seminars, conferences and dialogues both nationally and around the world. He added that on 29th May, without any notice or intimation a memorandum placing the petitioner on the ECL was issued by the respondents. The reason given therein is his alleged involvement in an ongoing inquiry. Durrani told the court that on 5th September, he requested the Adjutant General Pakistan Army to remove his name from ECL on account of professional commitments and that he and his wife wanted to visit their grandchildren living abroad.

He continued that after receiving no response from the Adjutant General Officer, the petitioner requested Secretary Interior to review his decision and remove his name from ECL. Petitioner maintained that the respondents have failed to respond to the petitioner’s numerous requests for removal of his name from ECL. “They are in breach of petitioner’s fundamental rights as guaranteed by Article 4, 9, 15 and 18 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973,” added Durrani.

He argued that our constitution guarantees the right of individuals to be dealt with in accordance with law. To enjoy the protection of law and to be treated in accordance with law is the inalienable right of every citizen.  “Restraining the petitioner from meeting his children and grandchildren living abroad is against his fundamental right to life and liberty as guaranteed by Article 9 of the Constitution of Pakistan,” said the petition.

Therefore, he prayed to the court to quash in impugned memorandum of placing his name on the ECL for being illegal, arbitrary, without jurisdiction and contrary to law and Articles of the Constitution of Pakistan.