News Analysis |
On 8th November 2017, the anti-graft court ordered finance minister Ishaq Dar’s surety-giver to appear in court in person while also ensuring Dar appears before the court on November 14.
Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir while issuing a warning to Dar’s surety-giver said that the court would confiscate surety bonds -worth Rs5 million – if they failed to appear before the court.
Meanwhile, the court rejected the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) request to issue a non-bailable arrest warrant against Dar. The bailable warrant issued for him earlier still holds.
Ishaq Dar has been using his health as a pretext to defeat the legal process. Pressure is also increasing on NAB court to take action against Ishaq Dar to ensure his presence before it.
NAB has alleged, “The accused has acquired assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his own name and/or in the name of his dependents of an approximate amount of Rs 831.678 million (approx)”. The charge sheet also accuses that Dar’s “assets were disproportionate to his known sources of income for which he could not reasonably account for”.
On November 2, Dar’s junior counsel, Ayesha Hamid who appeared in court in the absence of the main counsel, Khawaja Harris, submitted a medical report from a foreign hospital that states the finance minister is ill and “cannot stand for more than four minutes.” The report further suggests that Dar is facing heart palpitations.
Read more: Ishaq Dar: Difficult times ahead..?
Since arriving from Pakistan almost two weeks ago, Ishaq Dar has been to the clinic three times for thorough checkup. On doctor’s advice in the West London hospital, Dar underwent angiography.
The reports have emerged that he is advised to stay in the London and receive treatment urgently in the coming days. Dar’s family has also joined him in London and is taking care of him.
The alleged criminals in Pakistan easily get a let off and are given the protocol at the expense of state funds, despite under investigation on serious corruption charges. This is has happened with Dar.
The court was adjourned twice, on 2nd and 8th November, as it cannot advance proceedings due to Dar’s absence. Hence, the importance of next hearing has increased substantially.
Meanwhile, sources close to Ishaq Dar have revealed that he will not appear before the accountability court due to his deteriorating health.
How Dar left Pakistan?
According to a government official, who requested not to be named, Ishaq Dar, almost two weeks ago, requested Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s permission to attend an economic conference in a Central Asian country. After getting a green signal, Ishaq Dar used the Prime Minister’s protocol to reach the airport, from where he embarked for Central Asia. Instead of returning to Pakistan, Dar landed in a London hospital.
Dar left the country despite the fact that he had already been indicted and the court hearings against him were pending. Moreover, Dar did not take permission from the court before leaving the country.
A former dictator Musharraf was advised by the doctors to travel abroad for treatment as Pakistani doctors could not deal with his mysterious illness.
Reportedly, Dar’s actions have further strained his relations with PM Abbasi who, according to sources, wants Dar removed from his position as a Finance Minister, but has so far not done so due to Nawaz Sharif’s pressure.
Poor health as an excuse to evade impartial investigations: A new trend in Pakistan
Over the years, the dominant elite has pushed itself above the law. They use the institutions and compromise their doctrines to avoid justice. In the Panama case judgment, the Supreme Court has defined the parameters, and the apex court restricted in its disqualification verdict said that NAB performs under the supervision of appointed Supreme Court Judge.
Different institutions such as FIA, FBR, and Police facilitate the mighty and powerful of the country. A former dictator Musharraf was advised by the doctors to travel abroad for treatment as Pakistani doctors could not deal with his mysterious illness. Had he stayed in Pakistan for long, it may have deteriorated his health even further.
His name was removed from the Exit Control List at the behest of the Supreme Court and federal government, which led him to leave the country. Similarly, Dr. Asim, Mr. Hijazi and lately Mufti Qavi was given a massive favor on the pretext of being too ill to face justice. The alleged criminals in Pakistan easily get a let off and are given the protocol at the expense of state funds, despite under investigation on serious corruption charges. This is has happened with Dar.
Ishaq Dar has been to the clinic three times for thorough checkup. On doctor’s advice in the West London hospital, Dar underwent angiography.
Meanwhile, sections of media and political parties have asked the court to set up a commission or a team, consisting of doctors and legal experts to ascertain the authenticity of medical reports which Dar’s counsel have submitted before the anti-graft court.
Political analysts have opined that with the reopening of Hudabiya case, Dar’s reasons for staying away from Pakistan are becoming all the more valid. Since, he gave a 40 plus page confession in the early 2000’s, if he withdraws from his statement, he can be penalized. Moreover, he cannot afford to become a witness against the Sharif family due to personal and political reasons.
Ishaq Dar has been using his health as a pretext to defeat the legal process. Pressure is also increasing on NAB court to take action against Ishaq Dar to ensure his presence before it. Questions are now being raised on the effectiveness of anti-graft proceedings against Ishaq Dar. How these proceedings will transpire is yet to be determined.