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Accountability court issued bailable arrest warrants against Ishaq Dar

31 October, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: The accountability court on Monday issued bailable arrest warrants against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, directing him to ensure his presence before it on Thursday. Judge Muhammad Bashir also issued bailable arrest warrants against the ‘surety guarantor’ of Ishaq Dar. The court directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to produce four prosecution witnesses against Dar again on Thursday. When the court resumed hearing in graft reference against the finance minister, Khawaja Haris Ahmad, senior counsel for Dar, presented an application before it seeking exemption for his client from personal appearance. He presented a medical certificate of his client stating that he was in London for medical tests. He assured the court that Dar will appear on Thursday.

The NAB prosecutor, however, opposed the plea contending that the accused minister should have taken permission from the court before leaving for abroad. He requested the court to issue warrants against the accused for his deliberate absence. After hearing both the sides, the court reserved its decision for a short time and later rejected the plea seeking exemption. Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing till November 2. The application filed by Khawaja Haris stated that after attending the 16th Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Ministerial Conference in Dushanbe on Friday, the finance minister had travelled to Jeddah. It said the minister fell ill in Jeddah, thus he had to go to London for medical treatment. It requested the court to exempt Dar from personal appearance as he has to undergo medical check-up in London on Thursday. Dar has appeared before the court seven times since the trial started and missed only two hearings, which were held on September 20 and October 30.

The court was likely to order freezing of Dar’s assets on Thursday had he appeared in person. On the last hearing, the court had directed Dar to furnish his reply by October 30 on a NAB plea seeking to freeze his all movable and immovable assets.

NAB’s prosecutors have pleaded the court to issue orders for freezing of all assets of the accused minister.

The NAB through a fresh application has told the court that while exercising powers under Section 12 of the NAB Ordinance of 1999, the NAB chairman has passed orders on October 18 for freezing of Dar’s assets, properties, bank accounts and investments, and requested the court to issue order for freezing all assets of the minister.

The court has so far recorded the statements of five witnesses out of total 28.

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