An Islamabad accountability court on Wednesday issued a perpetual arrest warrant for former finance minister Ishaq Dar in a corruption reference.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed the reference against Dar, who has been declared an absconder in the case since he has missed hearings owing to his prolonged stay in London, alleging that the former minister had acquired assets beyond his known sources of income.

The court also made conditional the issuance of a ruling on pleas seeking the acquittal of co-accused — former NBP president Saeed Ahmed, Mansoor Raza Rizvi, and Naeem Mehmood, who were directors of Ishaq Dar’s Hajveri Modaraba — on the PML-N leader’s arrest.

The co-accused had filed pleas for their acquittal and challenged the reference under the NAB amendment ordinance.

At today’s hearing, NAB prosecutor Afzal Qureshi and counsel for the co-accused appeared before the court, and Judge Muhammad Bashir presided over the proceedings.

The judge ruled that the reference’s proceedings would not progress until Dar was arrested and presented before the court and the decision on the acquittal of the co-accused would be issued only after that.

The court then adjourned the hearing of the reference until Dar’s arrest.

THE REFERENCE: On July 28, 2017, a five-member Supreme Court bench had ordered the NAB to file three references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and one against then-finance minister Dar, on petitions filed by PTI chairman Imran Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami’s Sirajul Haq and Awami Muslim League’s Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.

In its reference against Dar, NAB had alleged that “the accused has acquired assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his own name and/or in the name of his dependants 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”.

The government has then withdrawn the portfolio of finance minister from Ishaq Dar.

On November 14, 2017, the court had issued Dar’s non-bailable arrest warrants in the reference.

The court had declared Ishaq Dar — who has been in London and hasn’t returned — an absconder on December 11, 2017, in the reference after the former finance minister had repeatedly failed to join the trial.

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