ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday took its first stern action against former finance minister Ishaq Dar by ordering his arrest through Interpol as an accountability court began the process of seizing his guarantor’s surety and confiscating Mr Dar’s properties.

During his first meeting of the bureau’s executive board, newly-appointed NAB chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal ordered the arrest of Mr Dar, who is currently in London, through Interpol since he had already been declared a proclaimed offender in a case related to assets beyond his known sources of income.

The meeting reached the conclusion that although Mr Dar was in London for the treatment of a heart disease, he could be provided medical care in Pakistan as well.

“Bring Ishaq Dar back to the country through Interpol because he is not suffering from any disease that cannot be treated in Pakistan,” the NAB chairman was quoted as saying in the meeting.

Accountability court initiates action to confiscate ex-minister’s properties & seize his guarantor’s surety

A senior NAB official told Dawn after the meeting that the bureau would write to the interior ministry to approach Interpol through the Federal Investigation Agency’s Interpol wing, so that Mr Dar could be arrested and brought back to Pakistan.

However, it seems that bringing Mr Dar back to the country will not be an easy task given legal hitches and lack of extradition treaty between Pakistan and the UK. Pakistan has also been trying to bring back Muttahida Qaumi Movement founder Altaf Hussain from London for a long time, but has failed to do so.

“The accountability bureau will now ask the interior ministry to contact the France-based Interpol secretariat for the issuance of ‘red warrants’ against Dar,” the NAB chief said.

Meanwhile the accountability court of Islamabad attached properties of Ishaq Dar and also issued warrants for attachment for movable properties of his guarantor Ahmed Ali Qadoosi.

Accountability judge Mohammad Bashir issued these directives after the investigation officer of the case submitted record of his movable and immovable properties.

In September NAB had seized bank accounts and properties of Mr Dar as an accountability court had initiated proceedings against him in a corruption reference. The bureau has also written to district governments, asking them to stop any transfer or disposal of the properties owned by Mr Dar, warning officials concerned that in case of non-compliance, they could face up to three-year imprisonment under the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999.

The accountability court on Wednesday also sought details of movable properties of the guarantor of the former finance minister, which included his bank accounts and vehicles.

Mr Qadoosi, according to the counsel for Mr Dar, has pledged his house in lieu of surety bonds worth Rs5 million for regular appearance of Mr Dar. However, since the accountability court has declared Mr Dar a proclaimed offender, it has initiated the process to recover the said amount by confiscating the movable properties of the guarantor.

The accountability court also recorded the statement of prosecution witness Azim Khan and summoned five other witnesses on Dec 18.

In a related development, the Islamabad High Court reserved verdict on NAB’s appeal against the grant of bail to retired captain Mohammad Safdar, the son-in-law of Nawaz Sharif, in a reference related to London properties.

The NAB’s prosecutor had challenged the grant of bail to Mr Safdar saying that under the NAO, the high court was the forum to allow such relief to an under custody accused.

Published in Dawn, December 15th, 2017

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