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ISLMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to immediately remove Shahbaz Gill and Mirza Shahzad Akbar’s names from the no-fly list.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah expressed its annoyance against FIA officials over their failure in compliance of the court’s directive of removing the names of two key aides of former prime minister Imran Khan.

The IHC chief justice remarked that the government should demonstrate that it will not take actions based on revenge. He further directed the FIA director general (DG) not to harass anyone.

During the hearing, the FIA officials appeared before the court and adopted the stance that director FIA had issued a letter due to the extraordinary situation in the country. At this, Justice Minallah asked what had happened and had a martial law been imposed in the country?

The officials told the court that the complaint was received from FIA Islamabad Zone on April 8 and over this complaint, the PTI members’ names were included in the list. They further said that these names were placed on the stop list as there were several allegations of corruption against them and two inquiries were pending against them for making money through illegal means.

Expressing his annoyance over the FIA, Justice Minallah said that since when the FIA has become so independent to register cases against people from the incumbent government? The judge said does not embarrass yourself. Bear in mind that this constitutional court will not let you do all this. The court will not allow all this to happen.

The IHC bench remarked that the performance of the department had been disappointing for the last two or three years. The FIA prayed before the court to grant a few days time as the department would submit a detailed answer in the Shahzad Akbar case.

The court said that these were the old tactics and it would not allow for this. The petitioners’ lawyer said that despite court orders, the names of his clients were not removed from the stop list.

Justice Minallah asked what law existed to place the names on the stop list. He added that the court was watching the conduct of the FIA for the last several years and directed the FIA to immediately remove the names of the two persons from the stop list and deferred the hearing in this matter till April 18.

He also termed the matter serious and directed the officials to ensure that their names were removed from the list immediately and also sought a report on the matter from the FIA DG and the interior secretary on the next hearing.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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