ISLAMABAD - The federal cabinet has empowered the interior minister to grant a one-time exemption to place or remove a name on or from the exit control list in case of urgency.

The federal cabinet also approved recommendations of a sub-committee to constitute another cabinet sub-committee under the chair of the interior minister to dispose of three main category cases in the future, said minutes of the cabinet meeting available with The Nation.

The federal cabinet, which met under the chair of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on May 3, empowered the federal interior minister for granting a one-time exemption to place or remove a name on or from the ECL in case of urgency, pending approval by the sub-committee and ratification by the cabinet. The cabinet also directed Interior Division to align the ECL rules with ECL policy and remove any contradiction. The cabinet also approved main recommendations of a three-member cabinet sub-committee formed under the chair of Federal Law Minister Mahmood Bashir Virk with a mandate to consider all fresh and old cases and submit proposals, said the minutes of the meeting.

The cabinet approved main recommendations of the committee for the future course of action in which a sub-committee comprising cabinet members headed by the minister of interior to examine and dispose of three categories cases with the approval of the minister and thereafter send to the cabinet for approval. As a future action, a cabinet committee will dispose of cases of three categories: the category one related all cases involving Supreme Court, high courts and tribunals with equivalent status; the category two related to cases of espionage, subversion, acts of terrorism, conspiracy against state, any act prejudicial to the integrity, security or defiance of Pakistan and the third category is related to persons belonging to proscribed organization.

According to the minutes, the above-mentioned cabinet committee will obtain through circulation employing fastest means of communication including electronic in order to avoid delay. Majority of available members of the sub-committee may recommend such cases if any member is unable to attend the meeting.

According to the minutes, the sub-committee informed the cabinet that 40 fresh cases have been received which were pending for decision. The cabinet was informed that the sub-committee under chairmanship of the law minister considered three cases in its first meeting, ex-post-facto approval in respect of 638 cases were placed on the ECL after 18 the August 2016, ex-post –facto approval in respect of 273 cases which were deleted from list during same period and 8 fresh cases added. The cabinet was apprised that the sub-committee viewed every case strictly on merit and recommended that a category wise list may be prepared regarding 638 cases which were placed on the ECL after 18th August 2016 and 273 cases deleted during the same period. Four fresh cases were recommended for placement on the ECL, one case for removal from the list, in one case, additional information was required and two cases were dropped or not placed on the ECL. The sub- committee proposed amendments in that Ordinance 1981, ECL rules 2010 and merger of salient features of ECL policy, 2015 in the ECL Ordinance and ECL rules wherever required.