Islamabad - The Federal Cabinet which met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the chair on Tuesday unanimously rejected the plea of PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz seeking removal of her name from the Exit Control List (ECL).

Briefing media persons about cabinet meeting decisions, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan in response to query said that the cabinet outrightly rejected Maryam Nawaz’s plea with consensus.

She said that 24 cases pertaining to including and removing names of various people from ECL were presented before the cabinet, which approved placement of four names on ECL, removal of eight names, while decision on eight other cases was deferred.

“The move aims at making one and uniform law in Pakistan without any special treatment,” she added.

Firdous said the cabinet showed consensus on the implementation of “one law and uniform law” throughout Pakistan and endorsed the recommendation of the cabinet sub-committee on ECL, which had opposed the request to strike Maryam’s name off the ECL.

Answering a question, the government spokesperson said the cabinet had decided to remove the name of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam’s father and former prime minister, from the ECL after “clear instructions” were given by the high court.

Prices of 89 medicines to go down by 15pc

“The court had recommended that the cabinet remove his (Nawaz’s) name from the ECL and court orders were honoured,” Firdous said, adding in Maryam’s case the recommendation of the sub-committee was endorsed.

The cabinet sub-committee was directed by the Lahore High Court (LHC) to review Maryam’s plea seeking the return of her passport and one-time permission to fly to London for six weeks to see her ailing father, ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The LHC will once again take up the petition of the PML-N leader on December 26.

On Monday, PTI leader Dr Babar Awan had said Maryam’s application for removal of her name from the Exit Control List (ECL) had been rejected by the federal cabinet’s sub-committee that deals with such cases.

“The sub-committee has decided against allowing a convict to leave Pakistan. There is no such provision in the law. If anyone wants this condition included then the matter will have to be taken up in parliament,” Dr Awan said.

The PML-N vice-president was arrested in August by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with an investigation pertaining to the Chaudhry Sugar Mills.

She was granted post-arrest bail by an LHC bench against two surety bonds worth Rs20 million and deposit of an additional Rs70 million. She was also ordered to surrender her passport to secure release.

Maryam had moved the LHC days after her father had was allowed to travel to London for medical treatment accompanied by his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif in November.

Speaking on the cabinet’s 20-point agenda, Firdous said the cabinet decided to reduce prices of eighty-nine medicines, including life-saving drugs, by fifteen percent with immediate effect to provide relief to people.

She said apart from decisions taken regarding appointments in different government departments the cabinet has approved a special financial package to facilitate people living along the Line of Control in Azad Kashmir. She said 33,498 families, who are direct victims of Indian firing along LOC, and each of them would get 5,000 rupees on quarterly basis under this package.

She said the cabinet approved one-time import of polio finger marker from India on the recommendations of World Health Organisation.

Firdous said Prime Minister Imran Khan has also directed Chairman Capital Development Authority to take immediate steps to clear garbage and waste from Islamabad.

She said reforms in tax laws were also approved by the cabinet and the Prime Minister directed Federal Board of Revenue to prepare a public friendly mechanism to facilitate common people. In this connection, she said Prime Minister has sought a report with recommendations about reforms in laws relating to all taxes within a week.

Earlier at the outset of the briefing Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza announced that the cabinet decided to reduce the prices of 89 essential and life-saving medicines.

He said reduction of 15 percent in the prices is in line with the government’s 2018 drug pricing policy. He said the Prime Minister has directed to review medicine policy within two months.

He said National Medicine Policy is being prepared under which pharmaceutical sector will be regularised.