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Referee judge appointed to decide Ayyan’s plea against travel ban

KARACHI: Sindh High Court Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah on Tuesday appointed Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto as a referee judge to decide the petition of model Ayyan Ali seeking removal of her name from the Exit Control List.

A division bench headed by Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh had referred the verdict to the chief justice for appointing a referee judge for the disposal of the case as one of the judges approved the model’s plea, while the other rejected it.

Justice Shiekh had held that the petition was not maintainable with regard to its jurisdiction, while the other bench member, Justice K. K. Agha, opined that the petition was maintainable and declared the placement of the model’s name on the ECL as illegal.

The interior ministry on a court direction removed her name from the ECL, but her name was again included in the list after a few hours.

The model later filed a contempt of court application against the federal government for not allowing her to travel abroad despite the court had directed the authorities to strike her name off the ECL.

The model had approached the court initially in December 2015 requesting the removal of her name from the ECL. Her counsel maintained that having her name on the ECL was illegal as authorities had returned her passport.

During a hearing of her case last year, the model said she was required to travel abroad for professional assignments and medical treatment, and since she had been released from jail on bail, her name should be struck off the ECL.

She said the authorities’ decision to disallow her from travelling abroad was a violation of her fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 18 of the Constitution.

A customs court in Nov 2015 indicted Ayyan for attempting to smuggle more than half a million dollars in cash out of the country, to which she has pleaded not guilty.

The model was arrested on March 14, 2015, on charges of money laundering after customs officials recovered $506,000 from her luggage at Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport before she could reportedly board a flight to Dubai.

She was granted bail in July last year after spending around four months in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail and after her judicial remand was extended at least 16 times.

Courtesy : Dawn News

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