ISLAMABAD: The federal government yesterday removed 65,000 names from the Exit Control List (ECL) under the new policy. The Interior Ministry also notified abolishing the Black List (BL). According to the notification available with The Nation, the federal government deleted 4,987 names from the ECL while 59,603 names got cleared after the abolishment of the Black List (BL).

Instead of Black List, two new lists have been formed called as Passport Control List (PCL) and Visa Control List (VCL). Out of 59,603 persons deleted from Black List, 17,741 persons were deportees while 4,750 names have been removed who were placed on BL on grounds other than passport offences.

Similarly, the names of 9,660 persons, including deportees and those involved in passport related offences, have been shifted from BL to the new Passport Control List (PCL). Moreover, 27,452 foreigners have been shifted from BL to Visa Control List (VCL) whom visa facility was denied under Visa Control Act or those obtained passports illegally.

Read more: Officials suspended for putting Ahmad Raza Kasuri on ECL by Ch Nisar

The ministry through the new policy has only retained the names of those persons on the list whose period of replacement is less than 3 years and or those who have been placed for allegedly involvement in anti-state activities/terrorism, belong to proscribed organisations, placed on 4th schedule or placed on the orders of superior courts. "Unfortunately, some people were on it for last 30 years and some were placed on over petty domestic issues," Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told the media.

“The list is not a joke. There was no rule or policy in the past for putting people on the no-fly list,” he said, adding that travelling abroad was a fundamental right and the government was giving back this right to the masses. He said that the listed people were being given right to appeal. The ministry in the notification has set the future parameters for the placement of names on ECL on the recommendations of Supreme Court, high courts, tribunals having equivalent status, defence headquarters, federal investigations agencies, NAB, FIA and federal government.

Also read: Interior Minister announces new rules for ECL

The parameters that would be kept in hand before placement on ECL include a) espionage, subversion, act of terrorism, conspiracy against state b) any act pre-judicial to the integrity, security of defence of Pakistan c) drug trafficking/human trafficking/money laundering d) persons belonging to proscribed organisations e) deserters from a defence or a security force or strategic organisation f) economic crimes involving public funds and institutional frauds g) tax/loan default or other state liability of more than 50 million or fraud in a public corporate entity (office holder as director) subject to certificate by referring authority that the fraud amount is Rs100 million or more that will be subject to satisfaction by a committee constituted for the purpose.

The placement of ECL shall be regulated under the policy guidelines, including in cases where investigations are under way, the period of placement shall be one year, which shall be subject to review by a committee in the Ministry of Interior on the recommendations of relevant authority/agency. Secondly, in other case the placement period on ECL cases shall be three years excluding terrorism, espionage, subversion, ATA (Anti-terrorism ACT) 4th schedulers, anti-state, narcotics and human trafficking cases.

Under the new policy, a review committee has been formed, including additional secretary-III, Joint secretary (Law) and JS Political/FIA of the Ministry of interior as well as representation of the concerned department/agency and section officer (ECL) of MOI will be secretary of the committee. 

Under the review/appeal mechanism, any person aggrieved by an order of the federal government may prefer a representation within 15 days to the federal government for a review of the order, setting out in the representation the grounds on which he seeks the review.

The government shall decide the representation made within 60 days. A quarterly review would be undertaken by the committee in consultation with referring authorities for fresh decisions in cases where the placement on ECL is about to expire.