ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday rejected a plea from the daughter of a convicted former prime minister to remove her name from the country’s no-fly list, as she sought to travel to London to see her sick father Nawaz Sharif.
Maryam Nawaz, who is vice president of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N Party, has been on the no-fly list since August and is on bail in a corruption case. Lahore High Court had allowed her father Sharif, who has been prime minister three times, to travel abroad for four weeks on medical grounds.
The former leader is also on bail in corruption cases in which he was sentenced to seven years in prison. He left for London on Nov. 19. “The federal Cabinet has unanimously decided not to remove the name of the renowned person (Maryam Nawaz) from the Exit Control List (ECL),” Firdous Ashiq Awan, a special assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan, told reporters after a Cabinet meeting.
The decision follows the high court directing the government to decide on Maryam’s request for one-off permission to travel abroad.
The PML-N said it was disappointed. Her lawyer will file an appeal on Dec. 26.
“We were not expecting a favorable decision from the government,” party chairman Raja Zafar-ul-Haq told Arab News. “The government should have shown magnanimity and removed Maryam’s name from the ECL on humanitarian grounds.”
Maryam was left with “meager legal options” to get her name off the no-fly list, according to one lawyer.
“The court in some cases may direct the government to remove somebody’s name from the ECL on the basis of a genuine reason,” Sharafat Ali told Arab News. “Maryam’s plea to fly abroad just to see her ailing father doesn’t constitute a genuine legal basis for the court to grant her permission,” he said, adding that it was within the court’s discretion, and much would now depend on how Maryam’s legal team presented the case.