ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Monday declared Ishaq Dar a proclaimed offender in a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference after the former finance minister failed to appear before it despite repeated summons.
Judge Muhammad Bashir directed Dar’s surety giver to produce the accused in three days before the court or his surety will be forfeited.
Earlier, Judge Bashir while declaring him as ‘absconder’ had ordered the NAB to initiate proceedings under Section 87 of the Criminal Procedure Code and submit a report within 10 days.
The court had also issued a show-cause notice to Dar’s surety giver to explain why his surety worth Rs5 million may not be forfeited. On Monday, the court gave him the last chance to produce Dar or lose his surety.
In his statement, the investigation officer in the reference case, pertaining to accumulating assets beyond means, had informed the court that after the issuance of non-bailable arrest warrants, Dar had deliberately concealed himself from the lawful proceedings.
He said that Dar has reportedly absconded to England and he might be declared proclaimed offender. Meanwhile, Dar’s counsel submitted a fresh medical report, saying that the doctor has yet to complete Dar’s examination and that his client was still having chest pain.
NAB prosecutor Imran Shafiq said that all the medical reports submitted by Dar were incongruent. The prosecutor added that the medical report did not fulfil the legal requirements set in the Criminal Procedure Rules of the UK.
Previously, the court had confirmed 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 the details of 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 an earlier application, NAB had listed details of six bank accounts located in Lahore and Islamabad, 13 assets within Pakistan and seven assets/companies abroad.
On September 27, the accountability court indicted Dar for amassing assets beyond his known sources of income and directed the prosecution to produce witnesses and evidence for establishing its case.
Dar had pleaded not guilty and is currently standing trial in the NAB reference filed against him in line with the Supreme Court’s July 28 judgment in the Panamagate case. The court will resume hearing on December 14.
The court, while hearing Avenfield properties, Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Company and Flagship Investment references against the Sharif family, recorded statements of two witnesses, Tayyab Ahmed and Adeel Akhtar.
The defence counsel also completed cross-examination on the witnesses. Subsequently, the court summoned two more witnesses, Yasir Shabbir and Shakeel Anjum, on the next date of hearing – December 19.
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his sons have been named in all the three references, while his daughter Maryam and son in-law Captain (retired) Muhammad Safdar have been made accused in only Avenfield properties reference.
Defence Counsel Khawaja Harris cross-examined the prosecution witnesses. The counsel also sought a verified copy of the statement recorded by Afaq Ahmed before the Panama case Joint Investigation Team.
The NAB prosecutor said the copy was submitted to the Supreme Court and asked for time to submit the statement to the accountability court. The court will resume the hearing on December 19.