The Supreme Court on Tuesday summoned defunct finance minister Ishaq Dar ─ who has been in London since Oct 2017 ─ to appear for a hearing regarding his eligibility to hold a seat in the Senate.
Dar, who was re-elected to the Upper House on March 3, 2018, as an independent PML-N-backed candidate, has not yet taken oath as a Senator.
His eligibility was challenged by PPP's Nawazish Pirzada who contended that an absconder could not contest elections. Dar was declared an absconder by the accountability court last year for his failure to appear in court since he has been in London allegedly receiving medical treatment.
Chief Justice (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar ─ who has heading a three-judge bench hearing the case today ─ asked Dar's lawyer where the former minister is. The lawyer, Salman Akram Raja, told the court his client has "a medical issue".
The CJP, however, rejected the explanation saying that Dar "has no illness".
"He has been ill for quite some time," Justice Nisar observed. He then told Raja to find out when Dar would return, and to inform the court. "We will be present here until 8pm," the CJP said. "Find out and tell us."
"Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi met Ishaq Dar in London," the CJP observed. "It seems as though the PM has no knowledge of the law," he added.
"It is better for Dar to appear before the court. If he is afraid of being arrested, we will offer him protective bail," he assured Raja, adding that the court would pass orders against Dar's arrest.
"Ishaq Dar is indisposed, his doctors have prescribed six to eight weeks of bed rest for him," Raja told the court.
"If he is not present, the case cannot proceed," the CJP said. "Any absconder can be caught and surrendered to the hands of the law," he warned.
The court subsequently summoned Dar on May 8 for a hearing of the case.
"Ishaq Dar should obey court orders," the CJP said, adding: "If he doesn't appear, we will make whatever decision we deem appropriate."