ISLAMABAD: Interim Interior Minister Azam Khan on Wednesday denied that he received any call from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to remove Zulfi Bukhari’s name from the blacklist, which had created controversy in the media.
Addressing the media in Islamabad, Azam Khan said that an undertaking was sent by Bukhari to the secretary of the interior, requesting for one month’s permission to perform Umrah. He added that the secretary forwarded the undertaking to him, after which permission for six days was granted.
The minister stated that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) requested to add Bukhari’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL), but the interior ministry placed his name on the blacklist instead, according to the Passport Act. To place a name on the ECL, prior permissions are required as part of a longer process.
The caretaker interior minister added that there were also false reports in the media and interim Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk also inquired about the process. “He asked me what was going on in the media, I updated the premier on the matter immediately,” Azam added.
On Tuesday, Imran also denied placing calls to Azam to request for Bukhari’s departure from Pakistan. On June 14, Bukhari moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against his name being placed on the ECL.
Bukhari, Imran’s close aide, was proceeding to Saudi Arabia alongside Imran on June 11 when he was barred from leaving the country at the Nur Khan Airbase. Bukhari was later granted a six-day permission to perform Umrah by the interior ministry.
Bukhari moved the court against his name being placed on the no-fly list hours after returning to the country. Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC issued notices to respondents after hearing the petition.