Islamabad (November 21, 2017): Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s continuous absence from the accountability court hearing a corruption reference against him resulted on Tuesday in the initiation of the process to declare him a proclaimed offender.
According to the details, the accountability court on Tuesday initiated proclamation proceedings against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar while dismissing his application requesting the court to allow him to be represented by a pleader in his absence, as the finance minister yet again failed to appear before the court.
The court ordered to initiate proclamation proceedings and complete it in 10 days, reducing time from 30 days, directing NAB to submit a report on December 4.
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As the hearing began on Tuesday, with a slight delay owing to the defence counsel’s late entry, Dar’s counsel, Qusain Faisal Mufti, submitted the minister’s third medical report and pleaded the judge to grant his client exemption from appearance.
The medical report stated that one of Dar’s arteries is not functioning properly and the minister will have another medical checkup on November 29.
Investigation officer recorded his statement saying Dar is deliberately concealing himself from the lawful proceedings, has reportedly absconded to England and he may be declared proclaimed offender.The counsel also requested the court appoint a legal representative (pleader) on the minister’s behalf so the proceedings can continue.
However, National Accountability Bureau (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 then reserved his decision on the defence’s plea. Announcing his decision, Judge Mohammad Bashir dismissed the pleas from Dar’s counsel to exempt his client from appearance and to appoint a legal representative on his behalf.
The court also issued a notice to Dar’s bail guarantor, Ahmad Ali 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.Earlier today the court reserved the judgment related to grant exemption to federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar from personal appearance while hearing of the NAB reference against him for accumulation of assets beyond known sources of income.
The court also reserved the judgment over plea made by Dar’s counsel to permit his client to appoint a representative.
At the start of the hearing today Dar’s counsels plead the Judge of Accountability Court Muhammad Bashir to grant their client exemption from personal appearance.
It may be mentioned here that during the last hearing NAB had submitted the report over the implementation report over Dar’s bailable warrant had plead the court to issue his non-bailable warrant of arrest.The Court issuing Dar’s non-bailable warrant of arrest had also issued show cause notice to his guarantor Ahmad Ali Quddusi warning that if Dar would fail to appear before the court on next hearing, that is today, the Rs 5 million surety bonds would be confiscated.
It may be mentioned here that Dar went to London and his counsel submitted a medical certificate on the last hearing that Dar is undergoing treatment at a hospital in London.The Accountability Court had issued Dar’s non-bailable arrest on November 14 for failing to appear before the court for the fifth time.
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.The process of declaring an accused a proclaimed offender includes publication of advertisements in the press, posting of notices at prominent places directing the accused to appear in court within 30 days, and seizure of assets.
The minister has skipped the last four hearings of the case, filed by the NAB in light of the Supreme Court’s Jule 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case, on account of receiving medical treatment in London.NAB calls for strict freeze on Dar’s assets
NAB has recommended placing the name of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on the no-fly list.
“After issuance of non-bailable warrant of arrest against Ishaq Dar, NAB has recommended the Ministry of Interior (MoI) to place his name on the ECL,” read a statement issued by the accountability watchdog.
Dar’s counsel had sought his exemption from personal appearance before the court for a period of three to six weeks contending that “much time is required by the doctors to give a final advice about Dar’s medical condition”. However, in its short order, the court last week rejected the request and issued Dar’s non-bailable warrant.