Pakistan finance minister gets arrest warrant for not appearing in court
Finance minister Ishaq Dar has been charged with amassing wealth beyond his known sources of income. He missed three weeks of court hearings conducted by the National Accountability Bureau.world Updated: Nov 14, 2017 18:37 IST
A Pakistani anti-corruption court issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday for finance minister Ishaq Dar 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 on international debt markets through a Sukuk and a Eurobond in coming months and has been trying to woo international investors.
Dar, who has been charged with amassing wealth beyond his known sources of income, has missed three weeks of court hearings conducted by the anti-graft agency the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Judge Mohammad Bashir issued the warrant on the grounds of “continued absence” from the court, according to a court statement.
Dar, who has pleaded not guilty, is receiving medical treatment in London and now faces arrest upon his return to Pakistan.
The case has been adjourned until November 21.
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 offshore 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.
Dar has rejected growing calls to resign amid his legal woes and a worsening economic outlook for Pakistan, which is battling to stave off a balance of payments crisis due to dwindling foreign currency reserve and a widening current account deficit.
Dar was initially lauded for steering Pakistan out of a balance of payments crisis in 2013 and returning the nuclear-armed country towards a higher growth trajectory.
But over the past year he has faced criticism for his refusal to allow the rupee to weaken to ease macroeconomic pressures. He has also been accused of eroding the central bank’s independence.
First Published: Nov 14, 2017 18:36 IST