ISLAMABAD – An accountability court on Wednesday issued bailable arrest warrant for Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for not attending the hearing of a reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against his assets.
Judge Mohammad Bashir, who heard the case, also directed the accused to submit surety bonds of Rs1 million to the court. The judge ordered Dar to appear before the court on September 25.
On behalf of the finance minister, his protocol officer Fazal Dad appeared before the court and stated that Dar is out of the country.
During the hearing, the NAB prosecutor asked the court to issue arrest warrant for the minister for not appearing despite summons. The court accepting the plea issued the warrant.
Before starting the hearing, the Registrar office barred media cameramen from entering the premises of the Federal Courts Complex. It only allowed reporters to attend the hearing.
The court had summoned the finance minister on September 20 in a reference regarding holding assets beyond his known sources of income, but he did not appear as he is in London.
Earlier, the NAB Lahore has sent a letter to the State Bank of Pakistan and all other banks to freeze the bank accounts owned by Ishaq Dar.
According to NAB reference, Dar owns assets beyond his known sources of income; therefore, a trial under corruption charges should be launched. A 91 percent increase was observed in his assets in a short period of time, it added.
The accused was summoned to joint investigation but he did not appear citing a review petition against the Panamagate verdict in the Supreme Court, the reference stated.
Dar and his family possess assets worth Rs 839 billion, the reference said.
Earlier, the NAB had submitted reference against the minister to the court in Islamabad, but the registrar sent the reference back to the anti-graft watchdog terming it incomplete and ordered to attach additional documents.
On September 14, the NAB resubmitted the reference with additional details and documents, after which the court summoned Dar.
The Supreme Court while announcing the landmark decision of Panamagate case, which caused ouster of Nawaz Sharif on July 28, had ordered the NAB to file references against the Sharif family and Ishaq Dar within six weeks. It also directed the NAB to decide the references within six months.