Court issues arrest warrant for Dar
islamabad — An anti-corruption court in Pakistan on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant for Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, media reported, after the veteran politician failed to turn up for several court hearings.
Dar, who has been charged with amassing wealth beyond his known sources of income, has for three weeks missed court hearings conducted by the anti-graft agency, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), prompting a judge to issue a non-bailable arrest warrant.
Dar, who is receiving medical treatment in London and now faces arrest upon his return to Pakistan, has pleaded not guilty.
The hearing had been delayed as NAB’s investigating officer was unable to reach the accountability court on time. The NAB prosecutor had told the court that the officer was travelling from Lahore to Islamabad for the hearing and had gotten delayed due to smog.
The case will now be heard on November 21. During earlier proceedings, the accountability court judge, Mohammad Bashir, had asked Ahmed Ali Quddusi who appeared on Dar’s behalf as a pleader when the finance minister may be expected to appear in court.
In response, Quddusi had said that, according to a November 6 report from a private hospital in London, Dar’s recovery is expected to take another six or eight weeks.
Dar’s absence was first attributed to ill health on October 30, when the finance minister failed to appear before the court for a hearing. His counsel, Khawaja Harris, had informed the judges that the finance minister had been admitted to a private hospital in London.
On July 28, a five-member Supreme Court bench had ordered NAB to file three references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and one against Dar, on petitions filed by Pakistan Tehreek-iInsaf’s Imran Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami’s Sirajul Haq and Awami Muslim League’s Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.
In its reference against the finance minister, NAB has alleged that “the accused has acquired assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his own name and/or in the name of his dependents of an approximate amount of Rs831.678 million (approx)”. — Reuters, APP
Ishaq Dar. —