ISLAMABAD: Former finance minister Ishaq Dar pleaded with the Supreme Court on Monday to urgently take up his application against the order of an accountability court requiring him to be present in person during hearings in a corruption case against him.

In an application filed through his counsel, Mr Dar sought an order by the apex court to exempt him from flying back to Pakistan, and allow his counsel to represent him in the accountability court, since his “health does not allow him to undertake air travel”.

The senator-elect said the accountability court would resume hearings in the case on Thursday (Aug 25) and intended to put his assets on sale if he did not return in time.

“Therefore, there is an extreme urgency for an early hearing of my application,” Ishaq Dar said in a six-page application moved through his counsel, former attorney general Salman Aslam Butt.

The petitioner requested the Supreme Court to set aside the trial court’s order of declaring him a proclaimed offender.

The applicant pleaded with the apex court to accept the submissions made in the application for a “fair, just and appropriate decision”.

On Dec 21 last year, the apex court had rejected a petition moved against Ishaq Dar by Muhammad Nawazish Ali Pirzada and also vacated its May 9, 2018, stay against the issuance of any notification regarding the former finance minister by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

The petitioner had challenged a previous Lahore High Court verdict of allowing Dar to contest the 2018 Senate elections on grounds that on Dec 11, 2017, an accountability court had declared him an absconder in a corruption reference after he failed to join the hearing.

Now in the fresh application, Ishaq Dar stated that during the tenure of the PTI government, the Director General of Immigration and Passports had blacklisted him on July 24, 2018, ‘without any justification’.

This action virtually barred the passport authorities in Pakistan as well as the Pakistan High Commissions overseas from issuing him a passport, Mr Dar said.

Passport cancelled

His passport was later cancelled on the foreign ministry’s request through a Sept 6 letter.

The cancellation of the passport, Ishaq Dar said, “came to my knowledge through a media report on Sept 9, when I was undergoing medical treatment in the United Kingdom”.

These acts of the PTI-led government “left me [Dar] stranded in Britain between Sept 2018 and May 2022” and made it “impossible for me to travel to Pakistan even if my health condition had improved”.

The former minister stated that through the present application, he wanted to bring on the apex court’s record certain documents regarding the circumstances that forced the applicant to be out of the country. “The reasons were beyond my control. This explains my failure to appear before the accountability court.

Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2022

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