LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government has started taking possession of the properties of absconding former finance minister Ishaq Dar at the request of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
On Saturday, a team of the Lahore city district government, headed by Assistant Commissioner Zeeshan Nasrullah, took possession of about five-kanal house (7-H Hajvery House, Gulberg III) belonging to Mr Dar.
For his absconding in a corruption reference, NAB seized Mr Dar’s all movable and immovable assets — the Gulberg house; three plots in Al Falah Housing Society, Lahore; six acres of land in Islamabad; a two-kanal plot in Parliamentarians Enclave, Islamabad; a plot in the Senate Cooperative Housing Society, Islamabad; a plot measuring two kanals and another of nine marlas in Islamabad and six vehicles.
The anti-graft body had said Mr Dar had acquired in his name or in the names of his dependants these assets worth Rs831.7 million, which was disproportionate to his known sources of income, for which he was facing a reference in the accountability court.
According to an official, the government has started taking possession of the seized property of Mr Dar. “It will also take possession of Mr Dar’s other attached properties soon,” he said.
More properties of former finance minister, absconding in corruption reference, will be taken over
The five-kanal house hit the headlines early last year following the revelation that Mr Dar had got an amenity plot altered to build a road leading to his residence. The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) during the Shahbaz Sharif government in Punjab had taken over 1 kanal and 6 marlas of the park land to build the road.
However, after the Supreme Court took notice of the matter, the LDA restored the public park to its original condition. The apex court had also directed the LDA to recover restoration cost from Mr Dar, who is a relative of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Mr Dar’s wife Tabassum Ishaq had claimed the ownership of the house, saying her husband had “verbally gifted” the property to her on Feb 14, 1989, in lieu of her dower amount.
She had said that since she had accepted the gift and was residing there, NAB had erroneously shown the property as an asset of Mr Dar.
On the other hand, the bureau had said the house was registered in the name of Mr Dar in the revenue record and was not transferred to the name of his spouse. “Mr Dar is the original owner of the confiscated property,” NAB had said.
Mr Dar was declared an absconder by the Supreme Court in 2017 when he failed to appear before it since he was in London, reportedly undergoing medical treatment. Since then he remains in London.
Federal Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid has recently claimed that Mr Dar will soon be brought back to Pakistan from the UK. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar has also claimed that British authorities have agreed to extradite Mr Dar to Pakistan under a memorandum of understanding.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry had also claimed that the process for extradition of Mr Dar and Nawaz Sharif’s sons — Hassan and Hussain — will be initiated soon. He has said negotiations have been made with the home department of the UK for extradition of the three and there is a positive response from the British government.
However, there has been no progress in this regard.
Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2019