Dar conveys to Sanjrani his willingness to take Senate oath virtually from UK

Published February 10, 2022
Former finance minister and senior PML-N leader Ishaq Dar. — Photo via Twitter/File
Former finance minister and senior PML-N leader Ishaq Dar. — Photo via Twitter/File

Senior PML-N leader and former finance minister Ishaq Dar has written a letter to Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, expressing his willingness to take his oath as a member of Senate "virtually" from the UK or through the "mechanism provided under Article 255 (2) of the Constitution" as he would not be able to come to Pakistan due to a "prolonged illness and ongoing medical treatment".

In the letter dated February 2, Dar stated that he was elected as a senator on a technocrat seat in the polls held on March 3, 2018. His victory was notified by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) shortly after.

Prior to the Senate polls, Dar's nomination had been challenged in the Lahore High Court (LHC) and was subsequently dismissed. Following his election, an appeal against the LHC decision was filed in the Supreme Court by rival candidate, PTI's Nawazish Ali Pirzada.

The apex court suspended the ECP notification declaring the PML-N leader's victory on May 8, 2018, for his failure to appear before the court despite the issuance of repeated summons.

However, in December last year, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for non-prosecution, thus vacating its 2018 stay against the issuance of any notification in favour of the former finance minister by the ECP.

Following the SC decision, the ECP restored the victory notification of Dar as a senator on January 10.

"Accordingly, I am writing this letter to convey my readiness and willingness to take the requisite oath as a member of the Senate of Pakistan, at the earliest," Dar wrote in his letter to the Senate chairman.

He stated, however, that because of his "prolonged illness and ongoing medical treatment" in the UK — where he has been since October 2017 — he cannot come to Pakistan to take the oath in person, adding that his medical report has also been attached to the letter.

"It is, therefore, requested that arrangements may please be made to enable me to take the required oath, virtually, through any electronic mode as you may deem convenient; the same being within the applicable legal framework and being used by the apex court of Pakistan."

Dar further stated that in case the oath could not be administered virtually, Pakistan's high commissioner to the UK or any other official of the high commission could be nominated to administer the oath, according to the mechanism provided under Article 255 (2) of the Constitution.

The article states, "Where, under the Constitution, an oath is required to be made before a specified person and, for any reason, it is impracticable for the oath to be made before that person, it may be made before such other person as may be nominated by that person."

The former finance minister also noted that the presidential ordinance that required lawmakers to take the oath within 60 days after the first sitting of a legislature was not applicable to him since he was elected prior to its promulgation.

Dar had gone to London in October 2017 for medical treatment while an accountability court was hearing a corruption reference against him by National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

He was accused of amassing assets of an approximate value of Rs831.7 million — disproportionate to his known sources of income by the NAB. He was declared an absconder on November 21, 2017, by an accountability court in Islamabad.

Previously, the court had confirmed the freezing of Dar's assets, properties, bank accounts and investments in Pakistan and abroad, except for an account with the Accountant General Of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR).

He was also declared an absconder in the Rs1.2 billion Hudaibiya Paper Mills case on December 11, 2017.

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