Panama Papers case: Pakistan court starts proceedings to declare Finance Minister Ishaq Dar a proclaimed offender

Islamabad: An accountability court ordered initiation of proceedings to declare Pakistan's embattled Finance Minister Ishaq Dar as a proclaimed offender in a graft case in Islamabad on Tuesday.

Judge Mohammad Bashir held the hearing even as 67-year-old Dar remained absent as he is in London for medical treatment. The judge also rejected an application by Dar's lawyer to grant him exemption.

The court also asked his guarantor, Ahmad Ali Qudoosi, to respond by 24 November as to why the surety bond of Rs 5 million should not be confiscated as Qudoosi had failed to ensure Dar's presence during the hearing. The court adjourned the hearing till 4 December.

The case was filed against Dar by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in light of the Supreme Court order of 28 July that also disqualified Nawaz Sharif as prime minister in the Panama Papers scandal.

File image of Pakistan's finance minister Ishaq Dar. Reuters

File image of Pakistan's finance minister Ishaq Dar. Reuters

The NAB had registered three cases of corruption and money laundering against Sharif, his family members, and Dar in the Islamabad Accountability Court, weeks after the Supreme Court order ousted the premier.

Earlier, the court on 14 November had issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Dar with an order to appear in person. Dar had told the court that he will appear after full recovery from a heart complication but the court rejected the plea.

The finance minister had skipped the previous four hearings on account of medical treatment.

On 2 November, the accountability court had approved NAB's request to freeze Dar's assets. The minister is accused by NAB of possessing assets beyond his known sources of income. Pakistan's anti-graft body has also sought the inclusion of Dar's name on the Exit Control List after he repeatedly failed to appear before the anti-corruption court in the Panama Papers case.

Updated Date: Nov 21, 2017 15:02 PM

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