The Lahore High Court (LHC) granted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shahbaz Gill permission on Wednesday to travel to the United States for four weeks. A three-member bench headed by LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti was hearing a petition seeking removal of Gill’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL). As proceedings commenced, CJ Bhatti questioned under what law the PTI leader’s name had been placed on the list prohibiting him from leaving Pakistan. The federal government’s counsel informed the court that Gill had been accused in multiple cases in Islamabad and explained that he had been placed on the ECL upon commissioner Islamabad’s request. “As this matter concerns Islamabad, this court has no jurisdiction to entertain the petition at hand,” the lawyer argued. He further maintained that Gill had previously submitted an application to the federal government seeking permission to travel abroad as well. “This matter has to be taken up in the next meeting of the cabinet,” he implored. On the contrary, Gill’s lawyer asserted that the petitioner’s name had been placed on the list “illegally”. After hearing the arguments, the LHC granted Gill permission to travel abroad for four weeks and sought a reply from the federal government by the next hearing. Petitioner Shehbaz Gill contended that he was employed as a professor in a US university and was required to travel as part of his work-related commitments. Further, he asserted that his family resides in the US and he wished to travel there to repatriate with his wife who was “seriously injured” and required assistance. The petition also provided assurances to the court that Gill had “no intentions of remaining in the US permanently” as he was still an active member of the PTI. It was brought to the court’s attention that previously, the Islamabad High Court had also suspended the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) notification of a flight ban on former PM aides Shahbaz Gill and Mirza Shahzad Akbar. Gill also stated that he believed the criminal cases registered against him — whereby his name had been placed on the ECL — were politically motivated and stressed that a “number of those cases have been quashed” by the courts. Further, Gill stated that on August 9, 2022, an FIR was registered against him in Kohsar police station Islamabad under different charges and his name was again placed on the Provisional National Identification List (PNIL) on August 10, 2022.