SHC allows Mama Qadeer to travel abroad

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KARACHI: Leaders of the Voice of Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) Abdul Qadeer Baloch, better known as Mama Qadeer, and Farzana Majeed were on Tuesday allowed by the Sindh High Court to travel abroad.

The federal government had slapped a travel ban on the VBMP leaders for their alleged involvement in “anti-state” activities. They moved the SHC against the travel ban after Mama Qadeer was stopped on March 5 at Karachi airport where he had reached to board a New York-bound flight.

A two-judge bench comprising Justices Ahmed Ali M. Sheikh and Syed Muhammad Farooq Shah allowed their petition against the ban imposed by the interior ministry on their travel abroad.

In their joint petition, the petitioners stated that they were protesting against the enforced disappearance of Baloch missing persons and staging protests at the Karachi Press Club.

The petitioners’ counsel, Advocate Wazir Khoso, told the judges that Mama Qadeer’s son, Jalil Reki, was detained by law enforcement personnel and later his body was found in the Mand area in Balochistan. Similarly, he said, Farzana Majeed’s brother Zakir Majeed had also been missing for the past six to seven years.

He said that the petitioners were invited by the Sindh Academic and Cultural Society of North America to attend a conference, but they were stopped from travelling abroad on the ground that their names were placed on the exit control list.

In their comments, the respondent authorities stated that the names of petitioners were placed on the ECL due to their involvement in anti-state activities.

On Tuesday, the bench asked the deputy attorney general to explain why the petitioners’ names were placed on the ECL.

The federal government law officer told the judges that the VBMP leaders were barred from leaving the country for their involvement in inciting youths against the state and the Pakistan army.

However, he could not give any explanation when the court asked him if any case in this regard was pending disposal against the petitioners.

The petitioners’ counsel contended that the VBMP leaders’ struggle for the rights of missing persons did not suggest that they were attempting to carry out a mutiny against the army.

The bench allowed their plea against the travel ban slapped by the federal government through a short order ruling that Mama Qadeer and Farzana were peaceful citizens and no restriction could be placed on their travel abroad. A detailed order containing reasons will be pronounced later.

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