Court is­sues ar­rest war­rant against fi­nance min­is­ter Ishaq Dar

Times of Oman - - WORLD -

IS­LAM­ABAD: A Pak­istani anti­graft court on Mon­day is­sued a bail­able ar­rest war­rant against Fi­nance Min­is­ter Ishaq Dar af­ter he failed to ap­pear be­fore it in a cor­rup­tion case spi­ralling from the Panama Papers scan­dal.

The Ac­count­abil­ity Court dis­missed Dar’s ap­pli­ca­tion seek­ing ex­emp­tion from per­sonal ap­pear­ance in the case hear­ing.

Dar’s coun­sel Khawaja Haris ap­peared in the court of judge Muham­mad Bashir and sought Dar’s ex­emp­tion from ap­pear­ance as he was in Lon­don to seek med­i­cal treat­ment.

But the court re­jected the plea and is­sued bail­able ar­rest war­rant and or­dered him to ap­pear in the next hear­ing on Novem­ber 2.

The case was filed against Dar by the Na­tional Ac­count­abil­ity Bureau (NAB) fol­low­ing a ver­dict by the Supreme Court, which dis­qual­i­fied prime min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions against his fam­ily.

Dar has so far ap­peared be­fore the court seven times since the trial be­gan. Ear­lier, he missed the first hear­ing on Septem­ber 20. It is the sec­ond hear­ing that he missed.

Pro­ceed­ings in the trial could not ad­vance on Mon­day due to Dar’s ab­sence, even though pros­e­cu­tion wit­ness Ab­dul Rehman Gon­dal, branch man­ager of a pri­vate bank’s par­lia­ment branch, had ap­peared in the court with two gunny bags full of doc­u­ments re­lated to the min­is­ter’s bank ac­counts.

Haris stated in the ap­pli­ca­tion that Dar, af­ter at­tend­ing the 16th Cen­tral Asia Re­gional Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion Min­is­te­rial Con­fer­ence in Dushanbe, had trav­elled to Jed­dah. He said the min­is­ter fell ill in Jed­dah and sub­se­quently had to go to Lon­don for med­i­cal treat­ment.

The court had in­dicted Dar last month in the case for own­ing as­sets “be­yond his known sources of in­come”.

At the last hear­ing on Oc­to­ber 23, the court recorded state­ments of NAB’s wit­nesses, in­clud­ing Ab­dul Rehman Gon­dal of Al­lied Bank and Ma­soodul Ghani of Habib Bank Lim­ited.

Ear­lier, three wit­nesses tes­ti­fied in the case, in­clud­ing Al Baraka Bank Se­nior Vice-Pres­i­dent Tariq Javed and Shahid Aziz of the Na­tional In­vest­ment Trust (NIT) as­set man­age­ment com­pany.

On July 28, a five-mem­ber Supreme Court bench had or­dered NAB to file three ref­er­ences against Sharif and one against Dar, on pe­ti­tions filed by Pak­istan Tehreek-i-In­saf ’s Im­ran Khan, Ja­maat-i-Is­lami’s Si­ra­jul Haq and Awami Mus­lim League’s Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.

- File photo

IN TROU­BLE: The court had in­dicted Fi­nance Min­is­ter Ishaq Dar last month in the case for own­ing as­sets ‘be­yond his known sources of in­come’.

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