ISLAMABAD: Senator Ishaq Dar, who is replacing outgoing finance minister Miftah Ismail, could not surrender before the accountability court of Islamabad on Tuesday as the judge was on leave.

Mr Dar returned to the country on Monday from London to assume the portfolio of the federal finance minister. The accountability court on Sept 23 suspended the arrest warrants of Mr Dar to enable him to surrender himself before the accountability court.

Though the court order was effective till Oct 7, Mr Dar decided to surrender before the court the very next working day after landing in the country.

Editorial: If the past is anything to go by, Ishaq Dar’s arrival could portend more trouble for economy

His counsel, Qazi Misbahul Hassan, NAB’s prosecutor and the investigation officer reached the courtroom. Outside the courtroom, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi and senior lawyers of the ruling party were present to greet Mr Dar.

A heavy contingent of police was deployed within and outside the Federal Judicial Complex (FJC) that housed the accountability courts. Inspector General of Islamabad Police Akbar Nasir Khan was also present in the FJC.

Abdul Manan Awan, the reader of accountability court judge Moham­mad Bashir, informed the NAB’s prosecutor and the defence counsel that the judge was on leave till Wednesday. Upon this, Mr Sanullah and other PML-N leaders and the IG Police left the FJC.

Mr Dar ended his five-year self-exile and returned to the country on Monday along with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

He will replace Mr Ismail, who announced his decision to step down after meeting PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif in London.

The accountability court declared Mr Dar a proclaimed offender on Dec 11, 2017.

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 his salary that he did not draw 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 Mr 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.

As per prosecution, Mr Dar’s ass­e­­ts had grown manifold from Rs9.1 million in 1982-83 to Rs831.6m in 2008.

As the former finance minister had not appeared before the court since 2017, he was declared a proclaimed offender and his bank accounts and other properties were seized.

The NAB 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, September 28th, 2022

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