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Pakistan

Web Desk
July 12, 2018
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SC discusses measures to bring back Ishaq Dar

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the interior secretary to take steps  at urgently bringing back former finance minister Ishaq Dar to country.

The concern popped while Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar was heading a three-membered bench to hear a suo motu case on the appointment of former Pakistan Television (PTV) chairman Attaullah Haq Qasmi's appointment as managing director (MD), the salary and perks he received both as chairman and MD of the state-run corporation.

“Is Dar present today?,” the CJP questioned on the former minister's failure to appear despite a last warning from the apex court given during the last hearing on Monday.

Responding on Dar’s absence, the chief justice ordered the interior secretary to plan measures to bring back Dar and directed concerned authorities to assist him, adding that any authority refusing to assist on the matter will be subjected to an inquiry.

The apex court discussed possible measures at length, during which the internal secretary suggested that a passport can be revoked through several ways.

“If we cancel the passport then he [Dar] will have the excuse that he cannot travel back.”

“Can Interpol be asked to bring him back?,” Justice Ijazul Ahsan questioned, adding on the mater, the chief justice asserted that there need to be laws to bring back suspects.

“Three months ago, a NAB court declared Dar absconder but what did the government do?,” observing this, he further inquired if red warrants be issued against Dar.

‘Chief justice on PTV MD appointment case’

Responding on the suo-motu case, former finance secretary Dr. Waqar Masood informed the bench that he has recorded his statements and expressed reservations at Qasmi’s Rs1.5 million monthly salary.

“The summary was sent to the Finance Ministry which forwarded it to the Prime Minister's Secretariat,” he told the court, adding to which he said he has nothing to do with the approved Rs270 million salary package.

“The package is for a total Rs54 million and not Rs270 million. Various perks may have been included in it which took it up to Rs270 million,” he clarified.

The chief justice demanded further investigation in the case, as he remarked that the former premier's principal secretary Fawad Hasan Fawad had declared that the PM Secretariat had nothing to do with the matter.

“If the amount is returned then the case should not be referred to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB),” the attorney general said, responding to which CJP said this was the reason they had summoned Qasmi.

The bench summoned a copy of the summary which was forwarded to the PM Secretariat and Finance Ministry.

The chief justice stressed on the need for Dar’s return so the matter could reach clarity.

The court has adjourned its judgment in the case until next hearing on July 14 pertaining to Dar's return.

Qasmi was appointed the chairman of PTV in 2015 but in April 2017, appointed himself the MD as well, sparking controversy.

During an earlier hearing, the court was informed by the additional attorney general and information secretary that Qasmi had reportedly received a total of Rs278 million in salaries and advertising cuts during his two-year stint at the state TV channel.

However, Qasmi has denied any wrongdoing.

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