An accountability court on Monday declared Ishaq Dar an absconder in a corruption reference after the former finance minister repeatedly failed to join the trial, remaining instead in London where he has reportedly been undergoing medical treatment.
The court also ordered Dar to submit surety bonds within three days, adding that in case of failure, the authorities would seize his assets.
As the corruption hearing resumed today, Dar's lawyer requested the court to refrain from declaring his client an absconder, and submitted a new medical report in court.
The court last week had reserved its verdict on declaring Dar an absconder. The announcement of the verdict was delayed after the former minister's counsel requested the court to defer the matter until the PML-N leader's medical reports arrived from London.
Ishaq Dar has been in London for some time now, where he is said to be undergoing medical treatment. He is accused of amassing assets beyond his known sources of income.
Defence lawyer Advocate Qausain Faisal Mufti told the court that Dar was suffering from chest pain and a minor issue in a coronary artery and, therefore, could not appear in court.
The prosecution rejected Mufti's claims and declared that the former minister was not suffering from any medical issues because all of his medical reports presented in court differed from the other.
Mufti responded, saying that the National Accountability Bureau had not yet verified the medical reports. He added that Dar was waiting for more reports.
Dar's lawyer also said that the non-bailable arrest warrants issued by NAB were sent to the minister's Lahore residence where he is not living at the moment.
The prosecution team said that the former minister was aware of court proceedings and there was no need to send warrants to London.
The court also declined one Advocate Qazi Misbah's request to present arguments on Dar's behalf, whom he claimed to be representing today, saying that he could not be allowed to do so since he was not the PML-N leader's lawyer.
The court adjourned the hearing until Dec 14 as it ordered Dar's guarantor, Ahmed Ali Qudusi, to present the accused before the court in three days.
The court also ordered the guarantor to submit surety worth Rs5 million or risk his properties being attached.
'Assets beyond known income'
On July 28, a five-member Supreme Court bench had ordered NAB to file three references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and one against Dar, on petitions filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Imran Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami’s Sirajul Haq and Awami Muslim League’s Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.
In its reference against the finance minister, NAB alleged that “the accused has acquired assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his own name and/or in the name of his dependants of an approximate amount of Rs831.678 million (approx)”.
The reference alleged that the assets were "disproportionate to his known sources of income for which he could not reasonably account for".
The government has since withdrawn the portfolio of finance minister from Ishaq Dar.
The noose seems to have been tightened around the former finance minister since NAB decided to reopen the Rs1.2 billion Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference against him.
In a previous hearing of the case, the court had warned Dar's guarantors of the confiscation of surety bonds worth Rs5 million if the accused did not join trial proceedings.