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Pakistan court issues arrest warrant for finance minister

Process to declare former prime minister’s sons Hassan and Hussain Nawaz as proclaimed offenders moves forward

Image Credit: Reuters
Ishaq Dar
Gulf News

Islamabad: An anti-corruption court in Pakistan on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant for Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, media reported, after the veteran politician failed to turn up for several court hearings.

The warrant comes at an awkward time for Pakistan, which wants to raise in excess of $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) on international debt markets through a Sukuk and a Eurobond in coming months and wants to woo international investors.

Dar, who has been charged with amassing wealth beyond his known sources of income, has for three weeks missed court hearings conducted by the anti-graft agency the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), prompting a judge to issue a non-bailable arrest warrant, the English-language Dawn newspaper and other media reported.

Dar, who is receiving medical treatment in London and now faces arrest upon his return to Pakistan, has pleaded not guilty.

A spokesman for the NAB was not immediately available for comment.

The charges against Dar followed an investigation into the finances of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted in July after the Supreme Court disqualified him for not declaring a small salary from his son’s off-shore company.

The finance minister is one of Sharif’s closest political allies and Dar’s son has married Sharif’s daughter. Both men deny any wrongdoing.

NAB submits implementation report

Meanwhile, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday submitted an implementation report, in the accountability court, on a process to declare the former prime minister’s sons, Hassan and Hassain Nawaz ,as proclaimed offenders continuously for not appearing in court.

AC Judge Mohammad Bashir took up the case for hearing regarding declaring the sons of former prime minister Sharif as proclaimed offenders.

During hearing,the NAB team submitted a report regarding the four bank accounts of Hussain Nawaz.

The NAB team said that Hussain’s accounts held $3,992 (Dh14,662), Rs382,381, €4,272 and £207, respectively.

The team apprised the court that the two brothers didn’t own any property in areas operated by Lahore Development Authority (LDA) and Defence Housing Authority.

They said the NAB prosecution team was waiting for an answer from Bahria Town and Deputy Commissioner Lahore in this regard.

Informing about progress made in the process of declaring the two brothers as proclaimed offenders, the prosecutor said the notices were sent through the Foreign Office to Avenfield flats in London.

The court also recorded the statements of NAB investigation officers in three references against sons of former prime minister.

However, the court adjourned hearing of the case until Wednesday.

The court had given previously one month to the two brothers to appear before the accountability court that was expired last week. On which, the court had asked the NAB prosecutor to initiate process to declare the both as proclaimed offender.

The court had also separated the matter of Hassan and Hussain Nawaz from other members of Sharif family in three references filed by NAB in compliance of SC orders in Panama papers case.

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