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ISLAMABAD: The accountability court hearing a corruption reference against former finance minister Senator Ishaq Dar will resume its proceedings today and is expected to declare the accused a proclaimed offender due to his continued absence.
The court can also seize Dar’s surety bond of Rs5 million if his bail guarantor, Ahmad Ali Qudoosi, fails to assure the court of the senator’s appearance.
Over Dar’s continuous absence in the case, which was filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case, the court had issued non-bailable arrest warrants on November 14 and declared him an absconder on November 21.
Dar is accused of owning assets that are disproportionate to his declared sources of income. He has skipped the last six hearings of the case owing to his medical treatment in London.
Later, after a period of 10 days (instead of the usual 30), the court initiated the process of declaring Dar a proclaimed offender.
At the last hearing on December 4, the court had reserved its decision on formally declaring Dar a proclaimed offender.
During the last proceedings, Dar’s counsel Qusain Faisal Mufti submitted his client’s medical report. He also objected to the ‘hasty’ order of the court in reducing the notice period from 30 days to 10.
“A suspect is declared a proclaimed offender after a period of 30 days,” Qusain had pointed out. To this, Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir remarked: “You still got 15 days.”
Dar’s medical report shows that he has chest pain, said Qusain, adding that the former finance minister’s arteries have constricted by 35 per cent to 50 per cent.
He then requested the court to delay declaring his client a proclaimed offender, stating that Dar never said he does not want to appear in court and is only inhibited from doing so by his medical condition.
IHC to hear challenge of arrest warrant today
On December 2, Mufti had filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) challenging the arrest warrants against Dar.
Dar has also challenged the court’s invocation of Section 17-C of the National Accountability Ordinance to curtail the mandatory 30-day period of the proclamation process to 10 days, on the pretext of the Supreme Court’s six-month deadline to wrap up the proceedings.
The IHC will take up the petition today.
Dar relieved of finance ministry duties
On November 23, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi accepted Dar’s request to be relieved of his duties, reported Geo News.
Dar was relieved of his three roles, including his portfolio in the finance ministry, and was informed of the decision.
Sources had said Dar would remain a federal minister as a leave of absence of three months has been granted to him.