Islamabad Court Issues Perpetual Arrest Warrant for Ex-finance Minister Ishaq Dar in Assets-beyond-means Case

Originally published By   May 18, 2022 

Pakistan, the world’s fifth-most populous country, with a population of almost 227 million, has a population of over 68 million persons affected by different shades of humanitarian crisis

In this file photo, PML-N leader and former finance minister Ishaq Dar speaks to the media. — AFP
In this file photo, PML-N leader and former finance minister Ishaq Dar speaks to the media. — AFP

An Islamabad accountability court on Wednesday issued a perpetual arrest warrant for former finance minister Ishaq Dar in a corruption reference.

The Dawn, a Pakistani online news media has on Wednesday, May 18, reported that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed the reference against Dar, who has been declared an absconder in the case since he has missed hearings owing to his prolonged stay in London, alleging that the former minister had acquired assets beyond his known sources of income.

The court also made conditional the issuance of a ruling on pleas seeking the acquittal of co-accused — former NBP president Saeed Ahmed, Mansoor Raza Rizvi, and Naeem Mehmood, who were directors of Ishaq Dar’s Hajveri Moda­raba — on the PML-N leader’s arrest.

The co-accused had filed pleas for their acquittal and challenged the reference under the NAB amendment ordinance.https://5b9d94127eed5cb0b37cc8f1068f8de3.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

According to Dawn, at today’s hearing, NAB prosecutor Afzal Qureshi and counsel for the co-accused appeared before the court, and Judge Muhammad Bashir presided over the proceedings.

The judge ruled that the reference’s proceedings would not progress until Dar was arrested and presented before the court and the decision on the acquittal of the co-accused would be issued only after that.

The court then adjourned the hearing of the reference until Dar’s arrest.

The reference

On July 28, 2017, a five-member Supreme Court bench had ordered the NAB to file three references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and one against then-finance minister Dar, on petitions filed by PTI chairman Imran Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami’s Sirajul Haq and Awami Muslim League’s Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.https://5b9d94127eed5cb0b37cc8f1068f8de3.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

In its reference against Dar, NAB had 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 has then withdrawn the portfolio of finance minister from Ishaq Dar.

On November 14, 2017, the court had issued Dar’s non-bailable arrest warrants in the reference.

The court had declared Ishaq Dar — who has been in London and hasn’t returned — an absconder on December 11, 2017 in the reference after the former finance minister had repeatedly failed to join the trial.

Why This Report Matters

This report matters ThT because the humanitarian situation in Pakistan is marred by conflict and natural hazards. 
Militancy targeting civilians and security forces was ongoing in 2020 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan provinces. 
Displacement within Pakistan is often temporary and recurring. Since 2009, insecurity has displaced over 5 million people in KP (including in Federally Administered Tribal Areas, which were merged with KP in 2018). 

IDPs are primarily housed in urban areas, particularly in Peshawar, Rawalpindi, and Karachi, though where they are housed depends largely on their province and village of origin. Most IDPs live in host communities and lack access to livelihoods, adequate shelter, and WASH facilities. The humanitarian situation for IDPs is compounded by the presence of 1.4 million Afghan refugees in the country, which adds pressure to the already strained public infrastructure.?
Pakistan is extremely prone to natural hazards, including seasonal flooding, avalanches, and earthquakes. Each year, at least 3 million people are affected by natural hazards across the country. Poor infrastructure, ineffective warning systems, and remote terrain aggravate the damage and limit the humanitarian response. In 2018–2019, severe drought conditions decimated the agricultural sector, affecting 5.5 million people – especially in Sindh and Balochistan provinces – and long-lasting effects are still being seen in 2021.

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