WPK Ishaq Dar-1663928749183
Dar is currently in London and through his counsel Qazi Misbah pleaded before the court that he should not be arrested upon return to Pakistan. Image Credit: APP

ISLAMABAD: An Accountability Court of Islamabad on Friday suspended arrest warrants for former finance minister Ishaq Dar in a case of assets beyond means in which he was declared Proclaimed Offender (PO) by the same court in 2017.

Judge of the Accountability Court Mahammad Bashir, hearing a petition that sought the reversal of the arrest warrants for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader, issued the order.

Dar is currently in London and through his counsel Qazi Misbah pleaded before the court that he should not be arrested upon return to Pakistan.

His counsel submitted before the court that Dar would surrender before the court as soon as he returned.

The court, while accepting the PML-N leader’s request, suspended his arrest warrants till October 7. The court has also barred National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from arresting Dar till the above-mentioned date. “We will consider permanently suspending Dar’s arrest warrants once he appears before the court in person,” the judge added.

Declared absconder in 2017

The same court had declared Dar an absconder in 2017 in a reference filed by the anti-graft agency the National Accountability Court (NAB) after he failed to appear in person during the hearings.

Following the court’s order of declaring him PO in 2017, the then Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had cancelled his passport in 2018. In his plea before the court he had said that due to the cancellation of the passport, he could not travel back to his country.

Dar had challenged the order in the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP). In an application filed through his counsel, Dar sought an order by the apex court to exempt him from flying back to Pakistan, and allow his counsel to represent him in the accountability court, since his “health does not allow him to undertake air travel”.

However, he received a new passport in May this year after Shehbaz Sharif took oath of the office of Prime Minister in April.

While his petition was still pending before the apex court, he submitted another application requesting the court that he wanted to withdraw his plea to which the court agreed.

Physician gives ‘conditional permission’ to travel

Hours after withdrawing his plea on September 21, Dar in a statement had revealed that his doctor had granted him “conditional permission” subject to his health to return to Pakistan and expressed his willingness to appear in court for hearings within 15 days.

The same day, his counsel challenged his arrest warrant and finally the court gave him relief on Friday. According to the senior party leadership, Dar is most likely to return to Pakistan sometime next week and assume charge of the Finance Minister to face the gaping challenges of inflation, rupee’s free fall against the US dollar, etc.