Islamabad: The Pakistan government has lifted a ban on foreign travel by two retired police officers accused of torturing former President Asif Ali Zardari in 1999, according to a media report on Saturday.
The names of former Sindh Police chief Rana Maqbool and DIG Farooq Amin Qureshi have been removed from the Interior Ministry`s Exit Control List. The move will enable them to travel out of Pakistan, The Express Tribune reported.
Both former police officers were accused of torturing Zardari when he was imprisoned during PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif`s second tenure as Prime Minister. Reports at the time alleged that they cut off a part of Zardari`s tongue.
Maqbool filed a case against Zardari that claimed he had inflicted injuries on himself in jail.
When Sharif`s government was ousted by Pervez Musharraf in 1999, the former army chief implicated Maqbool and several others in a case over the alleged hijacking of his plane.
Sharif had directed authorities not to allow Musharraf`s plane to land at Karachi while returning from a foreign trip. Musharraf used this to get a case of hijacking registered against Sharif and others.
In 2008, when Zardari became President, the torture case was revived but Maqbool and Qureshi stayed in Punjab under the wings of the PML-N and refused to appear in any court on the ground that there was a threat to their lives.
The former Pakistan People`s Party-led government`s Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, then included their names in the Exit Control List.
Under the current PML-N government, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan directed officials to remove their names from the list.
The FIR over the assault on Zardari was registered in 2005. In an application submitted to police, Zardari alleged the police officers had "tortured me and tried to kill me at the behest of the government".
Zardari said he was taken to an interrogation centre from jail in 1999 and tortured with the intention of killing him. During the torture, his tongue was cut, he alleged.
The 58-year-old PPP leader stepped down as President in September after a five-year term. He became Pakistan`s first democratically elected President to complete his tenure and be replaced by another elected individual.