ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Wednesday issued perpetual warrants for arrest of former finance minister Ishaq Dar and stopped further proceedings of the trial against him as well as co-accused, including former deputy governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Saeed Ahmed, till the arrest of the PML-N leader.

Accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir adjourned for an indefinite period further proceedings on the reference that accused Mr Dar of accumulating wealth beyond known sources of income.

The judge was hearing identical petitions filed by co-accused Saeed Ahmed and two accountants of the ex-finance minister — Mansoor Rizvi and Naeem Raza — seeking acquittal in the reference.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Afzal Qureshi had during an earlier hearing on May 12 contended that arguments in the reference had almost been concluded and the acquittal under Section 265-K of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) was not required at this juncture.

Accountability court stops further proceedings until his arrest

The judge issued the perpetual arrest warrants for the PML-N leader and said the court would resume further hearing upon his arrest or whenever he would surrender before the court.

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had on July 28, 2017, while taking up petitions filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid, disqualified then prime minister Nawaz Sharif for not disclosing undrawn salary from his son’s company and constituted a joint investigation team (JIT), headed by then additional director general of the Federal Investigation Agency Wajid Zia, to probe assets of the Sharif family and Ishaq Dar.

The JIT prepared four references — three against the Sharif family and one against Mr Dar — and filed them in the accountability court the same year.

Wajid Zia, the star prosecution witness, testified before the accountability court in April 2019 that Mr Dar’s assets had grown manifold from 1982-83 to 2008.

He said the former finance minister had owned assets worth Rs9.1 million in 1982-83. These assets increased exponentially within a few years, with Mr Dar declaring assets worth Rs831.6m in 2008.

Mr Zia concluded that Mr Dar possessed assets which were disproportionate to and beyond his known sources of income.

As the former finance minister has not appeared before the court since 2017, he was declared a proclaimed offender and his bank accounts and other properties were attached. The NAB has also seized all his movable and immovable assets, including a house in Gulberg III, Lahore; three plots in Al-Falah Housing Society, Lahore; six acres of land in Islamabad, a two-kanal plot in the Parliamentarians’ Enclave, Islamabad; a plot in the Senate Cooperative Housing Society, Islamabad; another plot measuring two kanals and nine marlas in Islamabad, and six vehicles.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2022

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