In another jolt to Pakistan’s former finance minister Ishaq Dar, the Islamabad High Court today dismissed his plea to set aside an anti-graft court’s order declaring him a proclaimed offender in a corruption case linked to the Panama Papers scandal.
Dar is accused of possessing assets disproportionate to his declared sources of income. A case against him was filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) following the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case.
Dar, 67, is in London since October and has been seeking treatment of an undefined heart complication at a UK hospital, according to Pakistani media reports.
The division bench, comprising of Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, has upheld the accountability court’s order to declare Dar a proclaimed offender. The dismissal has also vacated stay granted earlier.
Justice Miangul Hasan Aurangzeb observed in the short order that it seems that Dar’s medical report was drafted on his wishes, Geo TV reported.
When Dar’s counsel stated that his client had the right to get treatment from a doctor of his choice, Justice Minallah questioned if Dar does not have faith in local doctors. Pakistan has good medical facilities, the judge said.
The NAB had submitted its response to the IHC yesterday on Dar’s plea and stated that a proclaimed offender has to present himself before the court to get relief.
The anti-graft body had accused Dar of being “guilty of playing hide and seek with the court of competent jurisdiction”.
The NAB had also requested the court to allow the continuation of corruption proceedings against Dar.
In December, the IHC, after hearing Dar’s petitions against the accountability court’s order declaring him a proclaimed offender and issuing non-bailable arrest warrants for him, barred the anti-graft court from proceedings against the former finance minister till January 17, 2018.
Dar had been earlier declared a proclaimed offender by the accountability court due to his continuous absence from the proceedings.
Dar’s son is married to a daughter of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
In its case against Dar, the NAB has alleged that the accused has acquired assets in his own name or in the name of his dependants of an approximate amount of Pakistani Rs 831.678 million.
The Panama Papers are an unprecedented leak of over 11 million files from the database of the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca, reportedly showing how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.
On July 28, a five-member Supreme Court bench had ordered the NAB to file three corruption cases against former prime minister Sharif and one against Dar.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi withdrew the portfolio of finance minister from Dar after the latter sought medical leave.