Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – The accountability court on Tuesday dismissed the pleas filed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar seeking exemption from appearance and appointment of a legal representative, besides initiating a process to declare him a proclaimed offender.

Judge Mohammad Bashir resumed hearing of the corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Dar for possessing assets beyond know means of income.

The finance minister also skipped today’s hearing on the pretext of receiving medical treatment in London despite issuance of non-bailable arrest warrants by the court on constant absence.

As the hearing began, Dar’s counsel asked the court to grant him exemption from appearance while submitting Dar’s third medical report.

The medical report says that the minister is required to undergo another test on November 29.

The counsel further asked the court to approve the appointment of a pleader in order to continue the case against his client.

However, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Imran Shafique presented arguments against the plea and urged the court to start proceedings of declaring the finance minister a proclaimed offender for shunning court hearings.

An investigation office also submitted an implementation report regarding Dar’s arrest warrants.

The judge rejected Dar’s request seeking exemption from appearance and appointment of a pleader in the case.

The court also issued a show-cause notice to Dar’s bail guarantor, Ahmad Ali Qudoosi, asking him to submit a written reply by November 24 on why Dar’s surety bond of Rs5 million should not be seized.

The case has been adjourned till December 4.

At the last hearing, the court had issued non-bailable warrants after the minister failed to show up in the court. A notice had also been served on the minister’s guarantor, Ahmad Ali Qudoos, for failing to ensure the appearance of Dar.

The judge also warned that surety bond of Rs5 million would be seized for not following the orders.

Indictment

On September 27, the finance minister had been indicted for possessing assets beyond his known sources of income.

Dar had rejected the allegations levelled by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in its reference prepared following the orders of the Supreme Court in its July 28 verdict in Panamagate case.

NAB Reference

According to the NAB reference, the accused had acquired assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his name or in the name of his dependents of an approximate amount of Rs831.678 million as per the investigation conducted so far.

The assets are disproportionate to his known sources of income for which he could not reasonably account for, the reference said.