ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Tuesday issued non-bailable warrant of arrest against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar after he failed to turn up for hearing in a corruption reference.
The finance minister has been charged with amassing wealth beyond his known sources of income filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Judge Mohammad Bashir issued the warrant after he missed three weeks of court hearings. Dar, who has pleaded not guilty, is receiving medical treatment in London and now faces arrest upon his return to the country.
The finance minister has sought exemption from physical appearance before the court due to his treatment abroad through his counsel.
While issuing the warrant, the court directed Dar’s guarantor, Ali Ahmed Qudoosi, to make sure that the accused appears in court on the next hearing or else his surety bonds will be confiscated.
“This is the last chance for the accused to appear before the court,” the order said.
NAB calls for strict freeze on Dar’s assets
Dar's counsel, Qusain Faisal Mufti, informed the court that during angiography, his client’s one blood vessel leading toward his heart has gone ruptured, adding an audio-visual arrangement could be set up through which the court could even see medical condition of the accused.
Meanwhile, NAB also filed an application seeking court’s confirmation to attach Dar’s two more properties located at Raiwind Road and MM Alam Road in upscale Gulberg area of Lahore.
The ownership of the properties were discovered during the course of investigation by NAB.
Mufti said: “Doctors have advised Dar to take rest for three to six weeks,” adding, “A formal report regarding his medical condition is still awaited and as soon as it arrives, I will submit it before the court.”
He pointed out that NAB had not yet verified the first medical report of Dar as earlier directed by the court. In addition, Mufti said, he had received an attested power of attorney by his client, stating that he should be represented by a pleader so that the proceedings were not hampered.
Prosecutor Imran Shafique, while opposing Dar’s exemption plea on medical grounds, requested the court to issue non-bailable arrest warrant.
Court summons Dar, surety-giver on 14th
It also emerged during the hearing that the NAB chairman has ordered freeze on two more properties of Dar. The court accepted the NAB prosecutor’s request to confirm the chairman’s order.
During the previous hearing, the court had ordered Dar’s surety giver to appear in person and also ensure that the accused also appeared before the court on November 14.
Earlier, the court had ordered freezing of assets, properties, bank accounts and investments of Dar in Pakistan and abroad on NAB’s request except for an account with the Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR).
While submitting details of the assets and properties – moveable and immovable – of Dar, his family, dependents and benamidars, NAB had requested the court to endorse its action because “there is serious apprehension that the accused or his dependents/benamidars may dispose of, alienate, sell, create charge or change the status of the property”.
In the application, NAB had listed details of six bank accounts located in Lahore and Islamabad, 13 assets within Pakistan and seven assets/companies abroad.
The court adjourned the case till November 21.