Proceedings to seize Dar's surety bond adjourned till Dec 4
The accountability court hearing the corruption case against Ishaq Dar ruled on Wednesday that the proceedings related to the seizure of the former finance minister's surety bond would take place on December 4.
The decision came after Dar's bail guarantor asked the court for more time to produce the former finance minister in court. As Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir began proceedings today, Dar's bail guarantor Ahmad Ali Qudoosi was a no-show. Court officials shouted his name outside the courtroom but he still did not appear. The court then went into a recess to give time for Qudoosi to appear. He appeared after much delay for the hearing of the corruption case against the former finance minister.
Addressing the judge, Qudoosi said Dar is not in the country and asked for more time to produce him in court. National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Prosecutor Imran Shafique opposed the plea and said enough time has been given to the accused already. Qudoosi said he's going to the UK himself to inquire into Dar's health, saying the former finance minister's angiography has been completed and the results are awaited. He predicted a time period of three to four weeks before the former minister can return.
However, the judge ruled that further proceedings on the seizure of the bond will take place on December 4, when the court will hear the main case again. The judge also gave Qudoosi one last chance to ensure Dar's presence in court. On November 24, Qudoosi had requested the court not to seize the Rs5 million surety bond that he had submitted on behalf of Dar. However, the court had directed him to appear in person today and present arguments in his defence. The court had also issued notices to NAB.
Moreover, the court has posted on its notice board the order directing the former finance minister to appear within 10 days. The notice, dated November 21, states that Dar should appear in person within the given time; following which he will be declared a proclaimed offender.
NAB has filed a reference against Dar alleging that he owns assets which are disproportionate to his declared sources of income. The reference was filed on the orders of the Supreme Court
Panama Papers case.
At the last hearing on November 21, the court began the process to declare Dar a proclaimed offender as the then finance minister was a no-show for the fifth consecutive time owing to his medical treatment in London.
At the hearing, Dar's counsel, Qusain Faisal Mufti, submitted his client's third medical report and pleaded the judge to grant his client exemption from appearance. The counsel also requested the court appoint a legal representative (pleader) on Dar's behalf so the proceedings can continue. However, NAB prosecutor Imran Shafique opposed the plea and requested the court to begin the procedure of declaring Dar a proclaimed offender due to his continuous absence. The judge dismissed the pleas of Dar's counsel and issued a notice to Qudoosi, asking him to submit a written response on November 24 on why Dar's surety bond of Rs5 million should not be confiscated. The hearing was then adjourned until December 4.
In the hearing against the Sharif family by the same court, the judge had declared former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's sons Hussain and Hasan proclaimed offenders after they failed to appear in court despite repeated notices.