Dar moves SC, seeks suspension of order declaring him proclaimed offender

Updated January 19, 2020

Email

The former finance minister pleads he is suffering from serious medical complications. — AFP/File
The former finance minister pleads he is suffering from serious medical complications. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Former finance minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday approached the Supreme Court, seeking suspension of the Nov 11, 2017 order of the accountability court which had declared him proclaimed offender and directed for taking over and putting to sale his assets.

“This Honourable Court may kindly be pleased to suspend the operation of the order of Nov 11, 2017, the proclamation issued in pursuance thereof as well as any proceedings, steps or action taken pursuant thereto,” said an application moved by Advocate Qazi Misbahul Hassan on behalf of Senator-elect Ishaq Dar.

Through a separate application, Mr Dar also pleaded that the present plea be fixed before the Supreme Court in the week commencing from Jan 20 preferably on Jan 24 for expeditious disposal of the matter.

Through its order of Nov 11, the accountability court No I Islamabad had declared Ishaq Dar a proclaimed offender for his continued absence from proceedings in the reference against him.

Former finance minister pleads he is suffering from serious medical complications

The accountability court was seized with a reference concerning assets beyond known means of income, filed against Mr Dar by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Supreme Court orders.

Mr Dar is facing a corruption reference for amassing assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his own name or in the name of his dependants of an approximate amount of Rs831.678 million, which were disproportionate to his known sources of income for which he could not reasonably account for.

Now before the Supreme Court, the senator-elect has pleaded that he will suffer irreparable loss and damage if the interim relief prayed for is not granted.

It was pertinent to point out that in pursuance of the Nov 11, 2017 order, different assets of the petitioner were being put to sale or had been taken over, the application regretted, adding that the balance of convenience as well as equity strongly favours the petitioner.

Mr Dar pleaded that he was 69 years old and suffered from angina on minimal exertion in the year 2013. In November 2013, he underwent medical treatment for his heart-related issues which included coronary, angiogram, PCI with stenting of major diagonal branch.

Air travel

Later in August 2017, the application argued, Mr Dar again underwent CT Coronary angiogram on account of a typical chest discomfort. The petitioner had also been advised not to undertake any air travel, the petition said.

On Nov 20, 2017, he applied for leave in terms of Section 17 of the Federal Ministers and Ministers of State (salaries, allowances and privileges) Act, 1975, from the office of the federal Ministry of Finance, the petition said, adding the said request was acceded to by then prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Nov 22, 2017.

While undergoing medical treatment, the petition said, Mr Dar underwent a cervical procedure with respect to multi-level disc herniation and was again advised and recommended not to undertake any air travel on account of severe spinal and heart-related issues, the application said.

Faced with the same, Mr Dar again requested the then prime minister on Feb 19, 2018, for a further unpaid leave for a period of 45 days. This request was again accepted by the then prime minister through a notification of March 1, 2018.

Since the petitioner’s arrival in the United Kingdom, he had been undergoing various medical procedures and therapies on account of long-standing medical issues, the application said.

The petition contends that Mr Dar holds the Supreme Court as well as all other subordinate courts in utmost esteem and respect and he cannot take any step or action to disrespect the courts by avoiding presence in any proceedings.

In view of his health issues and advice of medical professionals, the petitioner is unable to personally appear in the accountability reference, which is pending before the accountability court No I, Islamabad.

The application also highlighted that Mr Dar was wrongly proceeded under Section 87 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) despite the fact that after being present before the accountability court on numerous occasions until the stage of recording of evidence of prosecution witnesses and before proceeding abroad on account of his medical condition and treatment, never absconded nor hid himself from the accountability court or proceedings in the reference.

Rather the bona fide of the petitioner is further evident from the fact that he himself volunteered that the trial in the matter be proceeded in the presence of his pleader.

Thus the conclusion drawn by the accountability court was not sustainable in law, the application said.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2020