The names of over 600 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders and workers, including party chief Imran Khan, have been added to the no-fly list, barring them from leaving the country from any exit point.
The names, per local media, have been added to the Provisional National Identification List (PNIL) by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to prevent them from leaving the country before pending cases related to the May 9 riots have been resolved. To ensure this, letters have been sent to all airports and exit points of the country, according to the Interior Ministry.
Among the people barred from exiting the country are Asad Umar, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Maleeka Bokhari, Qasim Suri, Asad Qaiser, Murad Saeed, Hammad Azhar, Dr. Yasmin Rashid and Mian Aslam Iqbal. Imran Khan’s wife, Bushra Bibi, has also been included in the travel ban.
According to local media, several PTI leaders and workers had attempted to leave the country this week in light of the ongoing crackdown against the party following the May 9 riots wherein demonstrators ransacked and looted various military buildings and installations. However, most were barred from leaving at the airports, while some were forced to disembark from planes. To ensure none of the accused are able to leave the country, a list was compiled by police, the Counter-Terrorism Department and intelligence agencies.
Referring to the travel ban, Khan “thanked” the government and said he had no intention of leaving the country. “I want to thank the government for putting my name on the ECL as I have no plans to travel abroad, because I neither have any properties or businesses abroad nor even a bank account outside the country,” he wrote on Twitter. “If and when I do get an opportunity for a holiday, it will be in our northern mountains, my favorite place on earth,” he added.
At least 7,000—PTI chief Khan claims the number exceeds 10,000—PTI workers and leaders have been arrested since May 9, with both the military and civilian leadership announcing they would be prosecuted under all relevant laws, including the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act. The government has maintained that no innocent individuals would be punished, adding that the majority of detained people would be released once inquiries had been completed.
In recent days, there has been an exodus of the party from various leaders, including Shireen Mazari, Fawad Chaudhry, Aamir Mehmood Kiani, Malik Amin Aslam, Mahmood Moulvi, Aftab Siddiqui, Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, Maleeka Bukhari, and Jamshed and Musarrat Cheema. All have addressed press conferences denouncing the May 9 riots, announcing their exit from the PTI, and calling for all culprits of the violence to be punished under law.