Chief Justice denies giving order to place Zardari, sister on ECL

Islamabad, Jul 12 (IANS): Pakistan's Chief Justice Saqib Nisar on Thursday denied that he had ordered placement of former President Asif Zardari and his (Zardari's) sister Faryal Talpur on the Exit Control List (ECL) in connection with a probe into illegal transactions through 29 fake bank accounts.

According to a Dawn report on Thursday, Attorney General Khalid Javed earlier told the daily that the apex court had issued directives to the Interior Ministry to place Zardari and Talpur on the no-fly list. Caretaker Interior Minister Azam Khan confirmed the news on Wednesday.

Justice Nisar in Thursday's hearing also asked the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to refrain from questioning the two leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party till the July 25 polls.

"Tomorrow no one should be able to make excuses that the elections have been rigged," the judge said.

Justice Nisar, who is heading the two-judge bench hearing the case, also remarked: "It is necessary to clarify which suspects' names have been placed on the Exit Control List. Are Faryal Talpur and Asif Zardari suspects?"

"If they are not suspects, then why did the media report that their names have been placed on the ECL?"

"We have still not placed their names on the ECL," he said, adding, "this impression must be eliminated".

Earlier reports said that the directives were issued to the Interior Ministry by the apex court in connection with an ongoing suo motu case concerning an investigation into fake accounts and fictitious transactions through several mainstream banks.

The fake accounts were allegedly used for channelling funds received in the form of heavy bribes and kickbacks.

Seven individuals, including Zardari and Talpur, were said to be involved in using certain bank accounts for suspicious transactions totalling Rs 35 billion.