Dar finally shows up to Islamabad NAB court, says couldn’t return earlier due to ‘passport seizure’

Published September 28, 2022
<p>PML-N Senator Ishaq Dar talks to media outside an accountability court in Islamabad on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV</p>

PML-N Senator Ishaq Dar talks to media outside an accountability court in Islamabad on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV

Newly minted Senator Ishaq Dar on Wednesday appeared before an accountability court in Islamabad after keeping away for five years, explaining that he was unable to return to the country and appear before the court due to the seizure of his passport by the then Imran Khan-led PTI government.

Dar appeared before the accountability court today and surrendered himself to seek cancellation of his arrest warrant.

Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir had on Sep 23 suspended the perpetual arrest warrant against Dar, which was issued on Dec 11, 2017, after he absconded from an assets-beyond-means case. The warrants were suspended until Oct 7, giving the senator a fortnight to surrender to the law.

The accountability judge, however, also has the power to recall the warrant. If the judge exercises this power, Dar will no longer need to seek bail but will be required to join trial proceedings and mark his attendance on every date of the hearing until the court exempts him from personal appearance.

Dar returned to the country on Monday from London and a day later he was sworn in as a senator to pave the way for him to become the federal finance minister.

During his appearance in court today, Judge Bashir asked the PML-N leader about his case, saying his application had been received earlier.

Dar told the court that he wanted to come despite being unwell, however, the previous government had seized his passport which barred him from returning to the country.

“The [Pakistani] embassies across various countries were given directives to not issue me the passport,” Dar told the court.

After hearing the arguments, the court issued a notice to the National Accountability Bureau and deferred the hearing till Oct 7.

‘No deal’

Later, speaking to the media outside the court, Dar denied that his return was linked to any deal [with the establishment], saying his party did not believe in “such arrangements”.

He said false cases were filed against him by the PTI government, claiming that every attempt made by the former government to target him were in vain.

He expressed hope that his party will steer the country out of the crisis “as we did in 1998-99 and 2013 onwards”.

Dar castigated the PTI government for discarding “sovereign agreements,” saying no government could go as far as the PTI did.

Discussing the future roadmap, the senator said he would try to stabilise the currency before moving on to other targets.

“Our currency does not deserve to be there where it currently is. I believe some speculators who had been playing the game have now stopped. Before I landed here, they had started going in a good direction,” he added. “Our second priority is to bring inflation and interest rates down.”

To another question, the senator said his predecessor Miftah Ismail did everything he could to fix the economy.

“We will build it more and this is a consistent effort,” he added.

Case against Dar

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had, on July 28, 2017, while taking up petitions filed by PTI 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 Dar.

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

As per prosecution, 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 , he was declared a proclaimed offender on Dec 11, 2017 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.

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