— Top judge says former finance minister has no excuses left to delay return to Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to respond to a questionnaire sent by the British Home Department on former finance minister Ishaq Dar’s extradition to the country.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar heard a case pertaining to Dar’s absence from the court in assets beyond income case.
Dar, who has been absconding abroad since October 2017, is accused in a corruption case of owning assets valued at Rs831.7 million, that is not justifiable by his known sources of income.
The additional attorney general (AAG) informed the court that the United Kingdom’s Home Office had sent a questionnaire pertaining to his return which has been forwarded to the accountability watchdog.
The AAG informed the court that NAB will submit its response to the UK Home Office.
In September, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) had written to the British government, regarding the matter of extradition of the absconder from London where he is reportedly undergoing medical treatment for a heart disease.
In response, the top judge commented that Dar now has no excuses left to delay his return to the country.
“He would say that when justice will prevail, only then will he return to the country,” Justice Nisar added.
The court ordered NAB to respond to the questionnaire and present a report on the matter in the next hearing.
The case was later adjourned for a month.
A reference against the former finance minister was filed by NAB in light of SC’s July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case.
In its reference, NAB had alleged that “the accused has acquired assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his own name and/or in the name of his dependents of an approximate amount of Rs831.678 million (approx)”.
The reference alleged that the assets were “disproportionate to his known sources of income for which he could not reasonably account for”.
Dar had earlier been declared a proclaimed offender by the accountability court due to his continuous absence from the proceedings.
In November 2017, then-prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had accepted Dar’s request to be relieved of his duties as the finance minister.