Pakistan anti-graft court maintains arrest warrant against Ishaq Dar

By: | Published: November 2, 2017 2:34 PM

A Pakistani anti-graft court today ordered Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to appear before it on November 8 and maintained a bailable arrest warrant against him after he failed to turn up citing health reasons.

Ishaq Dar, pakistan, pakistan anti graft court, Nawaz Sharif, Supreme Court, National Accountability Bureau, Panama Papers scandalThe NAB prosecutor opposed the exemption, saying the medical certificate did not specify the disease from which the minister was suffering. (IE)

A Pakistani anti-graft court today ordered Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to appear before it on November 8 and maintained a bailable arrest warrant against him after he failed to turn up citing health reasons. The case was filed against 67-year-old Dar by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) following a verdict by the Supreme Court, which disqualified prime minister Nawaz Sharif after an investigation into corruption allegations against his family. Dar’s counsel Khawaja Harris appeared in the Accountability Court and sought exemption from appearance on medical ground as the minister is in the UK. He also shared medical certificate of Dar and informed the court that the minister would undergo angiography tomorrow in a London hospital.

The NAB prosecutor opposed the exemption, saying the medical certificate did not specify the disease from which the minister was suffering. It pressed the court to issue a non- bailable arrest warrant. Judge Muhammad Bashir maintained the bailable arrest warrant against Dar while refraining from issuing a non- bailable arrest warrant against the minister as he was unwell. The court ordered Dar to appear before it on November 8. The bailable arrest warrant was issued against Dar after he failed to appear before the court in a corruption case stemming from the Panama Papers scandal.

The minister has so far appeared before the court seven times since the trial began. Earlier, he missed the first hearing on September 20 and two successive hearings on October 30 and November 2. At the hearing on October 23, the court recorded statements of NAB witnesses, including Abdul Rehman Gondal of Allied Bank and Masoodul Ghani of Habib Bank Limited against Dar. Three witnesses, including Al-Baraka Bank Senior Vice- President Tariq Javed and Shahid Aziz of the National Investment Trust (NIT) asset management company, have testified in the case.

Dar was indicted last month in the case in which he is accused of making assets that were “disproportionate to his known sources of income for which he could not reasonably account for”. On July 28, a five-member Supreme Court bench had ordered NAB to file three references against Sharif and one against Dar, on petitions filed by leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami’s Sirajul Haq and Awami Muslim League’s Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. In its reference against Dar, NAB has alleged that “the accused has acquired assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his own name and/or in the name of his dependants of an approximate amount of Rs 831.678 million (approx)”.

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