COURT ISSUES ARREST WARRANT FOR DAR
Finance minister charged with amassing wealth beyond known sources of income
ISLAMABAD: An anti-corruption court 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.
The warrant comes at an awkward time for Pakistan, which wants to raise in excess of $1 billion on international debt markets through a Sukuk and a Eurobond in coming months and wants to woo international investors.
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, media reported.
Dar, who is receiving medical treatment in London and now faces arrest upon his return to Pakistan, has pleaded not guilty. A spokesman for the NAB was not immediately available for comment.
The charges against Dar followed an investigation into the inances of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted in July after the Supreme Court disqualiied him for not declaring salary from his son’s off-shore company.
The inance minister is one of Sharif’s closest political allies and Dar’s son has married Sharif’s daughter. Both men deny any wrongdoing.
Dar has rejected growing calls to resign amid a worsening economic outlook for Pakistan, which is battling to stave off a balance of payments crisis amid dwindling foreign currency reserve and a widening current account deicit.
Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) turned down ex-premier’s request to stay proceedings in the accountability court in three references.
The court issued a pre-admission notice to the NAB to respond to Shairf’s petition. The bench compred Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani.
Earlier, Sharif’s lawyer Azam Tarar submitted the appeal, praying that the trial court’s decision should be declared null and void as it was given in haste without taking into consideration the IHC’S detailed verdict on his client’s plea.
Last week, the accountability court rejected Sharif’s plea. Earlier, the IHC had asked the accountability court to review Sharif’s application and give detailed reasoning for its decision.
Also during the day, as the deadline for Sharif’s sons Hussain and Hassan to appear in the accountability court lapsed on Nov.10, the NAB requested seizure of their properties.
Hassan and Hussain failed to appear before the court despite the issuance of a proclamation against them last month. The NAB deputy prosecutor general said that the notice had been pasted on the premises of the Federal Judicial Complex (FJC) on Oct.12.
The notice asking the two brothers to surrender and attend the court had also been pasted outside the Sharifs’ various residences and sent to London through the Pakistan Foreign Ofice, he told the court.
He asserted that the NAB had done its due diligence in attempting to get the two suspects to co-operate with the court, and now requested their properties be seized as they continued to avoid court.
Hussain has four bank accounts in a Pakistani bank. One account holds $3,992, the second holds 4,272 euros, the third has £207.53 while the fourth has Rs382,381 in it, the NAB’S compliance report submitted to the court said.
Replies from Lahore Development Authority (LDA) and Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Lahore were also presented before the court that stated both the housing schemes had no record of any properties of the two accused in the case.
Ishaq Dar is seen after a party meeting in Islamabad recently.