ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday rejected a petition filed by PPP leader Dr Asim Hussain seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against the Interior Ministry for not removing PPP leader Dr Asim Hussain’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL) despite court orders.
A bench comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Qazi Faez Isa heard the petition requesting the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the interior secretary and additional secretary for defying court orders by not removing his name from the ECL.
“We had ordered you to remove the applicant’s name from the ECL, but you issued him a permit instead,” observed Justice Isa while referring to the additional interior secretary in court during the hearing.
“Do you want the court to interfere in the government’s domains?” Justice Isa asked the interior secretary.
In response, the interior secretary reassured the bench that a notification issued by the ministry allowing Dr Asim to travel for one month will be amended as per the court’s orders.
The SC further directed the officials that removal of Dr Asim’s name from the ECL must be ensured until his medical treatment abroad had been completed. The court ordered that further travel allowances can be made following approval from the high courts or the trial court.
Following the grant of permission to travel by the SC, the anti-terrorism courts and accountability court last week, Dr Asim left for London on November 24, vowing to return after the treatment “to play an active role in politics”.
On Nov 16, an apex court bench comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Qazi Faez Isa had ordered the government to strike off Dr Asim’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL), allowing him to proceed abroad for medical treatment.
Dr Asim through his counsel had filed an application, requesting the apex court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the interior secretary for not ensuring that his name was taken off the ECL despite court orders.
The Supreme Court on November 24 had issued contempt of court notice against the interior secretary for non-compliance of the court order directing to take off Dr Asim’s name from the ECL.
Dr Asim, a close aide of former President and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, faces several charges including corruption references filed by NAB of Rs 479 billion. He is also alleged to have provided treatment and protection to terrorists at a hospital owned by him.
According to NAB, Dr Asim created an artificial shortage of gas during his tenure as a result urea fertilizer prices skyrocketed and touched Rs1, 830 from just Rs850.
Due to this, the government provided a subsidy on urea import which caused Rs450 billion loss to the national exchequer from 2012 to 2013.
Dr Asim is also charged with illegal acquisition of land for the establishment of Ziauddin Hospital, according to the NAB document present in court in May last year.