Official of interior ministry transferred amid debate over placing Sharifs on ECL

Islamabad (HRNW): The PML-N led federal government has transferred an official of interior ministry, who has been serving as additional secretary, to Economic Affairs Division amid growing debate over placing names of Sharif family members on Exit Control List (ECL),  Sher Afgan Niazi, an additional secretary at the interior ministry, has been transferred to Ministry of Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs. A notification of his transfer has also been issued. According to sources, there was dissension within the interior ministry over inclusion of Sharif family members’ names on no-fly list. The sources further said the officer had dissented from other officials and recommended implementation of request made by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

On February 14, the anti-graft body had written a letter to the interior ministry to place former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar. Moreover, a 21-grade officer at Federal Education and Professional Training Division, Imran Ahmed, now will replace Niazi as additional secretary at Interior Ministry. On Friday, the matter about inclusion of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members’ names on the ECL was raised at the parliament. Responding to a question, former Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the interior ministry’s committee was answerable for decisions on recommendations for including names on the no-fly list.

Speaking at the floor of National Assembly, the estranged PML-N leader said “if” a decision to not include the names of Sharif family members on the list has been finalized, it must have been made somewhere else. He was making a response to PPP lawmaker Syed Naveed Qamar’s question about delay on the NAB recommendations about placing Sharifs on the ECL. Nisar went on saying that he had changed the policy of placing names on the ECL and minimized the role of ministry during his tenure as Interior Minister. “A committee under the ministry was assigned with the task to deal with requests to place the names on the ECL during my tenure,” he said. He further said the committee was free to take decisions on merit during his tenure, besides the NAB recommendations were always taken seriously. On the occasion, Nisar wondered about the double standard of placing names on no-fly list.

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