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ISLAMABAD: The federal government has sought cancellation of diplomatic passports of former finance minister Ishaq Dar and his wife.

Some private TV channels reported on Sunday that a special secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had written a letter to the director general of Immigration and Passports for the purpose.

Through the Sept 6 letter, the official requested the DG Passports to cancel passports of Mr Dar and his wife Tabassum Ishaq as the former minister had been “blacklisted” following his failure to appear before the country’s courts.

In December, an accountability court had declared Mr Dar absconder in a reference after he failed to join the trial against him on charges of keeping assets beyond his known sources of income.

Last week, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had asked government departments concerned to find a way of getting Mr Dar extradited so that he could be produced in court. The court has already suspended the notification declaring Mr Dar senator-elect.

The chief justice had regretted that the court was finding it difficult to summon an absconder.

The secretaries of foreign and interior ministries as well as the prosecutor general of the National Accountability Bureau were ordered to inform the court on Tuesday (tomorrow) about the ways for bringing back Mr Dar, who has been living in London.

“Ishaq Dar is an absconder who is roaming about freely in London but never takes the trouble to return to Pakistan to submit himself before the court of law despite repeated directions,” regretted the chief justice, saying the former minister had to be brought to the country at any cost.

The court had also warned that it would proceed ex parte against Mr Dar if he failed to face the trial.

“In July 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has requested former finance minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar to surrender his diplomatic passport and that of his spouse to the ministry within 30 days (as per rules). Since he has not surrendered his passport so far and in the meanwhile he has been blacklisted, …….. therefore, it is requested that the DG Immigration and Passports may cancel diplomatic passport (No. AC7996855) of Mr Ishaq Dar and his spouse Tabassum Ishaq’s diplomatic passport (No. AC7990716),” says the letter written by the foreign ministry official to Ishrat Ali, the DG Passports in Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2018