ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) yesterday directed the federal government to remove from the Exit Control List (ECL) the names of five persons allegedly involved in the Axact fake degree scam.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition and directed the government to remove the names of five persons including Axact chief executive officer (CEO) Shoaib Sheikh, his wife Ayesha Sheikh and three other officials of the said company.

In his order, Justice Athar said that Interior Ministry could not satisfy the court in explaining reasons for placing names of these people on ECL when a competent court has already exonerated them from all charges. Under the law enunciated by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in federation of Pakistan vs General (retd) Pervez Musharraf others case, no impositions could be imposed on anybody who wishes to travel outside the country without reasonable justifications.

During the hearing, the counsel for the petitioners, Raja Rizwan Abbasi Advocate, FIA Additional Director Qaiser Mehmood, Additional Secretary Interior Sher Afgan, Advocate General Islamabad Mian Abdur Rauf and Assistant Attorney General Khawaja Imtiaz Ahmed appeared before the court.

On behalf of interior secretary, a reply was submitted before the court where it was said that the Axact officials sold 2.5 million fake degrees around the world earning a bad name to the country. FIA has also filed appeals in IHC against the orders of the trial court and it is requested therefore that names of these people may not be removed from the ECL.