HOW TO GET YOUR NAME REMOVED FROM EXIT CONTROL LIST (ECL) IN PAKISTAN
Every Citizen has right to move and travel in or outside Pakistan as long as such citizen has a valid passport and valid Visa issued by the country of destination. However, right to travel abroad is subject to clearance of Law Enforcement Agencies and other Government Institutions. This means that Law Enforcement Agencies have power to stop a person from traveling outside Pakistan but this power is not unbridled and while restricting a person from traveling abroad, every department or agency is required to follow the law and regulations existing at the time.
Under the Rules of Business, it is the Interior Ministry which has the power to regulate the affairs pertaining to movement of Pakistani Citizens abroad. In this regard, the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance 1981 was introduced to empower the Interior Ministry to supervise movement of certain persons who are required in Pakistan to participate in some inquiry, investigation or legal proceedings but there is likelihood of such persons to wriggle out or slip away from Pakistan.
What is Exit Control List?
Ministry of Interior to control movement of certain persons have maintained an Exit Control List. Exit Control is sometimes also called ECL or No-Fly List. Passport and CNIC of person whose name is put on ECL gets blocked as soon as his name is entered on ECL. Neither he can travel nor can have his document renewed till the time his name is removed from ECL.
When name of person can be placed on Exit Control List?
The Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance, 1981 read with the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Rules, 2010 provide the detailed procedure to be followed by Interior Ministry to place name of a person of Exit Control List. Rule 3 of the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Rules, 2010, provide that Interior Ministry upon request of any Law Enforcement Agency, Department or Authority may place name of a person on Exit Control List through a written order specifying the grounds for so doing.
Whether name of any person can be place on Exit Control List?
No, only name of such persons can be placed on Exit Control List who are required by Law enforcement Agency, department, authority or Court to participate in the proceedings and there is likelihood of such person to escape from Pakistan. Following are the activities, involvement of which may necessitate entering name of person on ECL:
- Person involved in corruption causing loss to Government’s fund or property
- Person who misuse of authority causing loss to Government’s fund or property
- Person involved in heinous crime, terror activity or commit act through which national security is threatened
- Person who commit economic crime to embezzle government funds
- Institutional fraud committed by any person
- Where there is default of tax or liability valuing PKR 10 Million due
- Default of Loan or liability above PKR 100 Million
- Where name of person is forwarded by Banking Court, High Court or Supreme Court of Pakistan
- Person involved in crime relating to Drug trafficking
- Person who has been convicted of an offence by competent court
Whether name of any person can be forwarded to be placed on ECL?
In usual circumstances name of every person cannot be requested to be placed on ECL. Proviso of Rule 3 of the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Rules, 2010, clearly stated that following are the persons whose name cannot be placed on ECL:
- Person involved in private dispute
- Person involved in crime and dacoity unless special circumstance exist
- Such women or children who are made director in company by major shareholder as their family member
Whether name of person can be placed on ECL when he is also outside Pakistan?
Yes, any person’s name can be placed on ECL whether he is in Pakistan or abroad. However, there must be facts that necessitate the entering name of such person of ECL.
Can a person’s name be removed from ECL?
Yes, it is possible to have the name of person removed from ECL. In most of the cases, agencies like FIA or other departments put the name of person on ECL for ulterior motives without there being any justified cause. In several cases, it is also seen that name of person is placed on ECL based on private civil disputes illegally and unlawfully.
In such circumstances, High Court of province has power to judicially review action of Ministry of Interior and an also direct Ministry to remove name of such person from ECL being placed on list without following due legal procedure and process. Nonetheless, it is important to first have clarity as to which department and on what basis, has such authority applied with Ministry of Interior for putting name of person on ECL.
How can I know whether my name is entered on ECL or not?
Easiest way to determine that your name has been placed on ECL or not is by approaching the nearest Passport office. If you are living outside Pakistan, you can approach nearest Pakistani Consulate to see if your passport is blocked. If your passport is blocked, you can request the office to provide you with documentary proof to understand which department has got your passport blocked.
If your passport is blocked due to fact that your name has been put on ECL. Our expert lawyers can fully assist you in having your name removed from No-fly List/ECL in a quick span of time. Give us a call and we will handle the rest.