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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday afforded a last chance to former finance minister Ishaq Dar with a directive to appear in person within three days and explain why playwright and columnist Ata-ul-Haq Qasmi was appointed chairman of the state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) on a hefty package.

At the last hearing on July 3, the court had summoned both Ishaq Dar and former finance secretary Dr Waqar Masood to appear before it in person on July 9.

Though Dr Masood had appeared before the court, Mr Dar did not.

Take a look: *The insider: Ishaq Dar*

A two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had taken up a suo motu case relating to the appointment of Mr Qasmi, who was looking after the affairs of PTV as its chairman after the three-year contract of former managing director Mohammad Malick expired on Feb 26, 2016.

During the hearing, the court wondered about considering ways to ensure presence of Mr Dar by asking should the court go for cancelling his passport or order arrangements for his repatriation through Interpol by initiating the process of issuing red warrants.

The court also ordered Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan and the interior ministry to ensure that Ishaq Dar appear before the court in person in three days.

When both former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz were coming to Pakistan despite an adverse decision against them by the Islamabad accountability court, then why Ishaq Dar could not come, the court asked.

Ishaq Dar is also facing a separate case before the Supreme Court on a petition field by Muhammad Nawa­zish Ali Pirzada who has challenged the Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict of allowing the former finance minister to contest the March 12 Senate elections.

On May 9, the apex court had suspended the notification of Senator-elect Ishaq Dar to become the member of the upper house of parliament for his failure to appear before the court despite repeated summons.

Instead of appearing before the court, the former finance minister furnished his medical report suggesting that the doctors had advised him not to travel.

The court regretted that Mr Dar was deliberately flouting the orders of the Supreme Court despite the fact that the court notice had been affixed at his residence requiring his presence in the court.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2018