Islamabad (April 24, 2018): The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday assured former finance minister Ishaq Dar of protective bail in a case challenging his Senate seat and ordered him to appear before the court.
The three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, resumed hearing of the petition moved by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) candidate Nawazish Pirzada against Lahore High Court’s (LHC) verdict allowing Dar to submit his nomination papers for the Senate election.
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This is not the first time Ishaq Dar was summoned in the case instead in the March 12 hearing of the case, the apex judge directed the former minister to appear in court in next week and appointed Babar Sattar as judicial assistant.
Dar’s counsel, Salman Aslam Butt, was present in court. “Salman Aslam, where is Ishaq Dar?” questioned the CJP. “Dar is ill and currently in another country,” replied Butt, however, at this, the top judge remarked, “He can’t be ill enough to not show up when summoned.”
Butt also submitted a medical certificate on Dar’s behalf, which was rejected by the court. The chief justice instructed Dar’s counsel to submit Dar’s reply by 8pm on Tuesday.The CJP then said that the notice issued to Dar earlier had directed him to appear before the top court under any circumstances. Butt responded saying that he would have to confirm with Dar whether he can appear in court. “You may inquire from him, our chambers are open till 8 pm tonight,” the CJP remarked.
“Ishaq Dar is well enough to visit the Supreme Court today,” the top judge remarked again.
On February 17, an appellate election tribunal of the LHC granted Dar permission to contest Senate election, setting aside an order of the returning officer (RO) who had rejected his nomination papers.On March 3, the former finance minister won a Senate seat as a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) backed independent candidate.
The petition contends that an absconder cannot contest elections.
“The apex court has categorically declared that a fugitive from law loses his normal rights granted under the substantive as well as procedural laws,” reads the petition.
“The impugned order may very kindly be set-aside, resultantly the nomination papers of the respondent no. 4 from the seat of Technocrat, province of Punjab, Senate Elections 2018, may very kindly be rejected and election of the respondent no. 4 may be declared void and set aside,” the petition reads further.Previously, the Election Commission of Pakistan had rejected Dar’s nomination papers for being a court absconder in a corruption and money-laundering reference pending against him in an accountability court.
Dar had also submitted his papers for two different Senate election categories with a single bank account. The unattested copies of his CNIC attached with his papers were also a reason for the rejection of his papers.