Interior Ministry Asked Why Zartaj Gul Wazir's Name Was Put On No-Fly List

Court directs the interior ministry to submit a reply within a week and to assign matter to a senior officer well aware of the law and conversant with the facts of the case

Interior Ministry Asked Why Zartaj Gul Wazir's Name Was Put On No-Fly List

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday sought a reply from the Federal Interior Ministry on including the name of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Zartaj Gul Wazir on a no-fly list.

Wazir has claimed in court that she wished ot travel to Saudi Arabia to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

IHC's Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri heard her petition. After hearing the arguments, Justice Jahangiri directed the interior ministry to file parawise comments within a week.

The court also directed the ministry to depute a senior officer on the case who is well versed with the law and well conversant with the facts of the case to appear in person, along with the relevant records, to assist the court at the next hearing. 

"Learned counsel for the petitioner pleads urgency in the matter as the petitioner intends to proceed abroad for the performance of Hajj, so she seeks that the matter be decided at the earliest," the court noted. 

In her petition, Wazir requested the IHC direct the interior ministry to remove her name from the no-fly list / PNIL (Provisional National Identification List). Wazir's counsel informed the court that his client is an elected member of the National Assembly and a former federal minister.

The court was further apprised that certain FIRs regarding political protests were registered against her, in which she obtained bail from the concerned courts. 

He claimed that Wazir was neither a fugitive from the law nor an absconder in any pending cases against her. Rather, she was facing all trials strictly in accordance with the law. 

The counsel further contended that Wazir learned a few days ago that her name had been placed on the no-fly list/PNIL. 

Consequently, on March 3, Wazir submitted an application to the federal interior secretary, requesting to remove her name from the PNIL.

Wazir's lawyer contended that the Interior Ministry never replied to their application. He further argued that placing Wazir's name on the PNIL was highly unjustified.

It is further contended that there is no legal or moral ground for placing her name on PNIL / ECL as her fundamental rights have been jeopardised, and she cannot be stopped from travelling abroad, which is her basic and constitutional right, her lawyer argued.

The high court is expected to take up the matter for a hearing next week.

It is pertinent to note that the Hajj is expected to take place in the middle of June, just six weeks away.

The writer is an Islamabad based journalist working with The Friday Times. He tweets @SabihUlHussnain