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Dar draws medical reasons to skip hearing in Senate candidacy petition

Former Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar, has once again tried to hide behind his rumored medical ailments, to avoid a physical appearance in the Supreme Court.

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News Analysis |

Former Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar, has once again tried to hide behind his rumored medical ailments, to avoid a physical appearance in the Supreme Court. A report submitted by the Senator-elect states that he has been suffering from pain in his left arm and chest, resulting from a spinal issue in the neck and that may require surgery if his condition does not improve within a month.

The apex court had summoned the former finance minister on May 8th, in a petition challenging his election to the Senate, however, Dar will not be appearing before the court, an indication of which is his medical report. Dar, who has been in London since October 2017, was elected to the Upper House of the Parliament but has not yet taken the oath.

He was declared absconder in December 2017, by an accountability court in a corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau. The recent report has been issued by the London Neurosurgery Partnership and it states that the politician also had cardiac issues because of which he had to undergo an emergency stent implant in the past.

Ishaq Dar is between a rock and a hard place in the current scenario. If he arrives in Pakistan to take the oath, he can get arrested but if he avoids the Supreme Court, there are chances that he can be disqualified.

Signed off by Consultant Neurosurgeon, Richard Gullan, and bearing the date April 26th, it states that a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) had shown ‘quite bad spondylitic change’ in Dar’s neck after he started experiencing ‘quite unpleasant left arm and chest pain symptoms’. In his report, Gullan has also suggested that the Senator-elect is probably getting to the stage where he may need to consider surgical options more seriously.

Read more: LHC allows an ‘indicted’ Ishaq Dar to contest in the Senate…

The surgeons have also advised Ishaq Dar to undergo spinal physiotherapy for two months as a trial; if that fails, a surgical procedure would make more room for the nerve roots in his cervical spine. Dr. Gullan has furnished in the report that Dar will be kept under surveillance and a month’s time will be required to review him. Although the report has described the ‘seriousness’ of Dar’s physical condition, it is silent about whether the former finance minister should avoid traveling.

At the last hearing on April 24th, Dar’s counsel, Salman Aslam Butt, had informed the Supreme Court that doctors had advised his client to avoid traveling for at least six weeks. However, the counsel failed to convince the bench, on which the Chief Justice instructed to inform Dar that he should comply with the earlier orders by appearing before the court on May 8. Taking a strong exception to the repeated no-show, the top court had asked Dar to physically appear before the court, even if he had to come in an ambulance.

Dar was among the candidates who got elected to Senate on a General Punjab seat, in the recent elections. As Nawaz Sharif was disqualified to head the party, days before the Senate elections, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz candidates contested as independents. Dar’s eligibility was challenged by PPP’s Nawazish Pirzada, who argues that an absconder cannot contest elections under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

Read more: Ishaq Dar among PML-N nominees for Senate elections

On the other hand, his legal representative had contended before the court that the said clause of the constitution was repealed. Ishaq Dar, who is part of the extended Sharif family, has been consistently avoiding an appearance before the accountability as well as the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s scrutiny is not the first vetting Dar has been going through. He was declared ineligible to contest Senate elections by the Election Commission of Pakistan, however, an appellate tribunal of the Lahore High Court (LHC), comprising of Justice Aminuddin Khan, overturned the decision and paved way for Dar’s election.

The recent report has been issued by the London Neurosurgery Partnership and it states that the politician also had cardiac issues because of which he had to undergo an emergency stent implant in the past.

The former minister had also submitted a medical report before the accountability court in December 2017, however, Judge Muhammad Bashir had sensed suspicions then. Muhammad Bashir, who is also hearing the graft references against former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif and his family, had remarked that apparently, the reports submitted by Dar appeared a bid to delay the proceedings. The recent medical report of Ishaq Dar becomes dubious because the ailments mentioned in his report are supposedly severe, however, Dar has been constantly engaged in political activities in London.

Read more: Ishaq Dar must resign for the sake of democracy

Recently, when the former Premier Nawaz Sharif headed to London to inquire after her ailing wife, Dar called on him at the office of Hassan Nawaz. A footage of Dar walking towards the said place appeared on social media, showing him hale and hearty. Interestingly, Dar is among two of the lawmakers who have won elections in recent past but failed to take the oath – the first one being Kulsoom Nawaz.

Ishaq Dar is between a rock and a hard place in the current scenario. If he arrives in Pakistan to take the oath, he can get arrested but if he avoids the Supreme Court, there are chances that he can be disqualified. The formulation of a report on April 26th, two days after he was summoned, confirms that Dar had already made up his mind, not to travel to Pakistan and the damaging revelations emerging in the graft cases confirm that he might not be able to appear before the courts anytime soon.


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