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15 December 2017 Last updated 11 minutes ago

Guarantor seeks 3 weeks to present Ishaq Dar before accountability court

Ishaq Dar file photo Ishaq Dar

A guarantor for Ishaq Dar has sought three weeks to present the finance minister before the accountability court for trial in a reference filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for allegedly possessing assets beyond his known sources of income.

The court had on Tuesday declared Dar, who is currently in London, an absconder and warned his guarantors of the confiscation of surety bonds worth Rs5 million if the accused did not join trial proceedings.

Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir had earlier also ordered NAB to initiate proceedings against Dar under section 87 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and submit a report within 10 days.

Guarantor Ahmed Ali Quddusi failed to present Dar before the court despite the warning, and submitted a reply to the show-cause notice.

In his reply, Quddusi sought an additional three weeks to present Dar before the court. He requested the court not to confiscate the surety bonds of Rs5m.

After receiving the response, the court ordered NAB and the guarantor to present arguments pertaining to confiscation of the surety bonds on November 29. The hearing was subsequently adjourned until the same date.

'Assets beyond known income'
The noose seems to be tightening further around the former finance minister after NAB decided to reopen the Rs1.2 billion Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference against him earlier this month.

The Hudaibiya reference will be the second ‘mega-corruption’ case against Dar being investigated by NAB, after the reference filed against him in the wake of the Panama Papers case judgement.

The reopening of the case was recommended by the joint investigation team formed by the apex court to probe the Panama Papers allegations against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members.

On July 28, a five-member Supreme Court bench had ordered NAB to file three references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and one against Dar, on petitions filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Imran Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami’s Sirajul Haq and Awami Muslim League’s Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.

In its reference against the finance minister, NAB alleged that “the accused has acquired assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his own name and/or in the name of his dependants of an approximate amount of Rs831.678 million (approx)”.

The reference alleged that the assets were "disproportionate to his known sources of income for which he could not reasonably account for".

The government on Wednesday withdrew the portfolio of finance minister from Ishaq Dar.