ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday directed the federal government to place the minutes of the cabinet meeting and the decision taken on the amendment in Exit from Pakistan (Control) Rules, 2010.

A five-member bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial (heading the bench), Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar conducted hearing of the suo moto notice regarding apprehension of undermining the criminal justice system.

Additional Attorney General Amir Rehman onset of the hearing submitted that according to the updated list 30 people left the country and came back. At this, Justice Ijaz asked the AAG to read to the order of the last hearing, and go step by step. Amir Rehman said that in pursuance of 09-06-2022 order that the Attorney General for Pakistan held meeting at the AGP Office with the officials of the NAB, FIA, Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Law. He said that SOPs have been devised and circulated among the stakeholders.

He said that there will be another meeting of the CCEL and the case to case basis the matter would be examined.

Justice Muneeb Akhtar said that the amendment passed in the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Rules, 2010 is the law. He asked that where the law stands and where the government stands? He added that do not tell us that you are examining you are looking case to case basis. The ECL law proviso said that it will be prospective, while the amendment in the law said it is retrospective. The government is on the week wicket, and trying to gain time.

Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan questioned that what the government is doing? He asked from the AAG that whether the government would reverse what had happened that the amendments on ECL Rules would be placed again and then examine the matter case to case basis. He further asked that what was the ‘tearing hurry’ that in two days they changed the rules.

The Chief Justice said that there should be no changes in the system which are not good for the system. The point before the court is that the persons in position are the beneficiary. He added that person in power cannot make law for his own benefit. He also said, “Should we (SC) ignore or discard this aspect.”

Justice Bandial, without taking name, said it is good that you (PM) got bail (in corruption case) confirmed through the system. He said that they are monitoring whether the prosecutor who opposed the bail has he filed the appeal? Justice Mazahar Naqvi inquired from the DG FIA how many times bail granted in such cases. The DG said that the FIA prosecutor has opposed the bail and he did his job. At that Justice Mazahar remarked that “he (prosecutor) uttered only two lines.”

Amendment in Exit from Pakistan (Control) Rules, 2010

Five-member apex court bench conducts hearing of suo moto notice, adjourns proceedings till June 27

The Chief Justice said that the present times are unique time. The majority party has left the party and the country is facing economic crisis. He added, “We will keep the system together to function and balance.”

He said that they are sitting in the truncated Parliament and the law must be clear. The executive needs to exercise the power in transparent way. We will keep an eye that the agencies and Parliament remain in their limit. He remarked that do not indulge in things where you (government) perceived taking advantage of the system and the power. We will not impose but want that the system function in fair, transparent and in accordance with the law.

The AAG informed that the cabinet committee will review the application. Then Justice Ijaz questioned that can it be done. He maintained, “You are the legislator and the judge. It is typical case of judge of its own cause.”

The AGP Ashtar Ausaf assured the court that the matter will be reviewed not in hurry. Deliberation took place on Monday, he said and added that the cabinet will review the entire case. All the cases will be structured and documented. Each case of the ECL will be looked at by the investigating agency and the trial of the case will not be hampered.

The Attorney General said, “No person would leave the country without deliberation by the reporting agency and has to take permission by the Ministry of Interior.” Justice Ijaz said that this will not apply to the persons, whose names were placed on ECL by the order of the court. If someone’s name is placed on ECL on the recommendation of the NAB, then that person will not leave the country without the permission of the NAB.

Director General FIA informed that they have digitized 42 high profile cases and made PDF copy. He submitted one copy in the Supreme Court.

The court directed the AAG to place the minutes of the cabinet meeting and the decision taken on the amendment in Exit from Pakistan (Control) Rules, 2010 on the next hearing and deferred the case till June 27 for further proceedings.