ISLAMABAD: An Islamabad accountability court on Friday cancelled Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s arrest warrant in the assets beyond means case filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
The cancellation orders were issued after the minister appeared before Accountability court judge Muhammad Bashir with his lawyer Qazi Misbah. The court also directed the minister to submit surety bonds of Rs1 million.
At the outset of the hearing, Misbah asked the court to permanently cancel his client’s arrest warrant and the order to confiscate his assets.
The lawyer told the court that it had issued the arrest warrants so Dar appears before the court, adding that they should be cancelled now as the minister is present before the court.
“Did NAB also issue arrest warrants of Ishaq Dar,” Judge Bashir asked the anti-corruption watchdog’s prosecutor.
Anti-graft’s body responded in the affirmative but clarified that the warrants were suspended.
“What is your point of view now, should the warrants be cancelled or not?” asked the judge.
At this question, the NAB prosecutor supported the cancellation of warrants, adding that they were issued to ensure Dar’s appearance in the case.
The judge then remarked that it will have to indict Dar once again as a supplementary reference has also been filed against him.
To this, Dar’s lawyer stated that they will give arguments on the supplementary reference.
Before adjourning the case till October 12, the court issued notices to NAB over the application filed against the confiscation of Dar’s property and permanent exemption from appearance.
The court has ordered NAB to present its arguments at the next hearing on both applications.
Arrest warrant suspended
Last week, the court had suspended the arrest warrants of Dar till October 7.
Judge Mohammad Bashir had issued the orders and directed the authorities to not arrest the minister upon his arrival in Pakistan.
The judge had said that once Dar returns to Pakistan, the court will see whether it should revoke his arrest orders or not.
“The arrest warrants will be permanently suspended once Dar appears before the court in person,” the judge had said.
Dar moved the accountability court after the Supreme Court dismissed his appeal in a corruption case following his decision to withdraw the plea.
In 2017, an accountability court, while hearing a corruption reference against Dar, declared him a proclaimed offender due to his continued absence from the proceedings.
The national anti-graft watchdog accused Dar of possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.
The case was filed by NAB in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case.