Dar to step down if court rejects bail: sources

Bailable warrants of arrest for the finance minister were issued after he failed to appear in court

By |

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Wednesday has decided to resign if the court rejects his pre-arrest bail petition, sources told Geo News. 

An accountability court hearing a corruption reference against Dar issued bailable warrants of arrest after he failed to appear in court.

Hours after the issuance of warrants, a team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore has raided Finance Minister Ishaq's residence in Islamabad but failed to arrest him as he was not at home.

Geo News correspondent Azaz Syed was at the location when the two-member NAB team carried out the raid to arrest the finance minister.

Dar had been summoned to appear in court today in connection with a reference by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for possessing assets beyond declared sources of income. The reference had been ordered by the Supreme Court in its July 28 judgment in the Panama Papers case. 

As the hearing began in Judge Mohammad Bashir's court, Dar's protocol officer Fazal Dad appeared in court and informed the judge that the minister is presently in London. 

The NAB prosecutor pleaded the court to issue arrest warrants to ensure Dar's presence in court. Following this, the court went into a recess to decide on the bureau's plea and returned with the directions of ordering bailable warrants of arrest for the finance minister.

The court ordered for submission of the bail bond of Rs1 million and adjourned the hearing until September 25, ordering Dar to be present in court at the next hearing. Dar was also directed to nominate someone who would serve as a bail bondsperson. 

Sources within NAB informed that summons for Dar was sent to his residence in Islamabad and his personal address in Lahore. 

NAB officials also informed the court that the minister's summons was received by his driver, whereas his staff officer informed authorities that the minister's seat on the flight back was confirmed but he could not make due to some commitments. 

Dar's accounts to be frozen

Moreover, NAB Lahore on Wednesday directed State Bank of Pakistan and all banks of the country to freeze Dar's accounts, Geo News reported earlier on Wednesday.

In its letter, the anti-graft watchdog also instructed the banks to inform it immediately after taking the said action.

Sharif family's cases 

On Tuesday, the same court, while hearing corruption cases against the Sharif family, issued a second summons for the accused after they failed to appear in court.

As the hearing began, NAB submitted an implementation report in court with regards to the summons issued to the accused.

The judge was informed by the NAB prosecutor that the family's security officer at their Lahore residence received the summons.

The NAB prosecutor informed the court that the security officer said Hussain and Hasan Nawaz had instructed him not to accept the summons. He added that the summons was sent to the correct address.

The judge remarked that the summons was for the suspects and not the security officer. "Don't just get rid of the task by delivering the summons to the security in-charge next time and get the job done," the judge observed.

The judge turned down the prosecutor's plea of issuing arrest warrants against the accused to ensure their presence in court and adjourned the hearing until September 26. 

Later in the day, in response to a question whether Nawaz will appear in court, Maryam Nawaz tweeted "He should not. Must not. Should not be a part of political & personal victimisation in the garb of accountability. It's a FARCE."