ECL Ordinance: Only The Government Can Decide About

The exit control list issue is in papers nowadays and it has created some controversy as to who is authorized to make a decision about it. But the ECL Ordinance clearly explains it.

The Exit From Pakistan Control Ordinance 1981 indicates that only the federal government can make an order regarding ECL and the procedure to follow.

Here is the summary of what the ordinance says about the exit control.

1. Title

  • This Ordinance is called the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance, 1981.
  • It extends to the whole of Pakistan.

2. Power to Prevent Exit from Pakistan

  1. The Federal Government may prevent any person or class of persons from traveling out of Pakistan even if such person has valid travel documents.
  2. The Federal Government may or may not show cause to the person against the order.
  3. If it appears against the public interest to specify the grounds of barring the exit, the government will not disclose them.

3. Review

  1. The aggrieved person can file a review within fifteen days of the order. And he has to specify the reason why he believes the government ordered in error.
  2. The Federal Government will decide about the review of whether to accept or reject it.
  3. The decision will be final and the aggrieved person can’t challenge it before any court or other authority.

4. Punishment

The violation of the order is a punishable crime for up to five years of imprisonment.

5. Power to Make Rules

The Federal Government can make rules to execute the ordinance but it has to publish them in the official gazette.


So two things are clear from the ECL ordinance:

  1. The federal government can decide about the ECL, but can’t conditionalize it.
  2. ECL order is an administrative matter and honorable courts can’t give any judgments whether to allow or stop a person from exiting Pakistan.