Court approves freezing of Dar’s assets as ‘seriously ill’ minister skips graft hearing yet again


–Court rejects finance minister’s request for exemption from hearing, upholds his bailable arrest warrants

–Dar’s medical report submitted to court states minister is ill and ‘cannot stand for more than four minutes

–Court also rejects Dar’s plea to spend Rs0.6m monthly for personal use from frozen bank accounts


ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Thursday yet again failed to appear before the accountability court hearing a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference filed against him pertaining to his assets beyond means, as the court approved NAB’s request to freeze his assets.

The court also rejected Ishaq Dar’s request for exemption from court proceedings and upheld his bailable arrest warrants.

The NAB team, as well as four witnesses — all officials of various private banks — were present in court.

As soon as proceedings on the reference began, junior counsel Ayesha Hamid — who appeared in court instead of senior counsel Khawaja Harris — filed an application for Dar’s exemption after presenting a medical report from a foreign hospital that states that the finance minister is ill and “cannot stand for more than four minutes”.

The medical report claimed that Dar is facing heart palpitations and doctors had recommended that he undergo angiography.

Objecting to the submission of the report, NAB prosecutor Imran Shafique said that the medical report is from a private hospital and was not submitted to court through the proper channels.

“The report should have been forwarded to the court through the Foreign Office, which should have received it from the Pakistan High Commission,” the prosecutor said.

During the proceedings, the NAB prosecutor asked that the court validate his claim to freeze Dar’s assets abroad. Dar’s counsel objected to the prosecutor’s claim, saying that NAB cannot freeze Dar’s assets abroad now that the case is in court.

Advocate Ayesha further claimed that of all the assets that the NAB prosecutor called upon the court to freeze were Dar’s Dubai properties, which she said are outside its jurisdiction since they are in a foreign country.

“Of the four bank accounts under Dar’s name, only one is operational and holds Rs 20 million while the other three hold Rs232, Rs10, Rs1,990, respectively,” Hamid told the court.

Hamid told the court that NAB had also sought to freeze assets which Dar had already sold.

“The NAB chairman has the power to freeze assets for 15 days,” the prosecutor told the court, responding to Hamid’s arguments.

He said that while Pakistan does not have an arrangement to freeze citizens’ assets with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a Pakistani court could ask the UAE government to freeze assets over there.

“The court can make a request and a UAE court can rule on it,” the NAB prosecutor explained.

Approving NAB’s request to freeze Dar’s bank accounts, the court rejected Dar’s request to spend Rs0.6 million monthly from the accounts for personal expenses.

All accounts belonging to Dar, except those operated by accountant general revenue, will be frozen after the court order.


In the previous hearing on Oct 30, the court had issued bailable arrest warrants for the minister after rejecting another application seeking Dar’s exemption from appearance in hearing.

Proceedings in the trial could not advance due to Dar’s absence, even though prosecution witness Abdul Rehman Gondal, branch manager of a private bank’s parliament branch, had appeared in the court with two gunny sacks full of documents related to the minister’s bank accounts.

At the outset of the hearing, Dar’s counsel Khawaja Harris filed an application seeking exemption for the minister’s appearance in the court and adjournment of the hearing until Nov 2. The court initially reserved its decision on the matter but later rejected the application.