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September 7, 2018

Bringing Dar back not possible for NAB anytime soon


September 7, 2018

LONDON: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar has issued orders to take measures for the return of former finance minister Ishaq Dar to Pakistan within ten days from London but it looks unlikely that Pakistani government will be able to make any move further while the matter of extradition of Mr Dar remains pending before the Interpol and the Pakistani authorities get to find out that cancelling the passport will only benefit Ishaq Dar – if he is made stateless.

Resuming the hearing of a case related to the summons issued to Dar on Thursday, a three-judge bench expressed dismay at National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) failure to bring back former finance minister.

“Where are NAB officials? What has NAB done up till now to bring back Dar?” inquired the chief justice, further asking how Dar could continue living in Britain if his passport is cancelled.

The News has learnt through source that Ishaq Dar has valid visa of Britain which means that he can continue living in Britain without any problem. The top judge asked if Dar could continue living in Britain provided his passport is cancelled but legal experts have said that Dar in that case be strained in the UK but cannot be extradited to Pakistan.

“Pakistan cannot cancel Ishaq Dar’s passport if the government wants him to come back to Pakistan. He cannot travel to Pakistan if his passport is cancelled and that will make him stateless and in that case Britain will have to issue travel documents to him. There is no allegation against him in the UK and no court has found anything against him,” immigration lawyer Ansar Mehmud said.

Even if the matter is brought before a court of law here in the UK, it could take ages for the extradition proceedings and chances of extradition are zero because allegations and charges against Dar are of political nature and judges would be reluctant to send him back to Pakistan,” said immigration lawyer Ansar Mahmud.

Amjad Malik, a Solicitor-Advocate of the Supreme Court of England and Wales in UK, said that NAB court has the power to issue warrant for any accused to ensure his attendance and upon non-attendance, it can declare the accused proclaimed absconder.

He said that in March 2018, the special court directed the federal government to block Pervez Musharraf’s CNIC and passport if he failed to appear before the bench in the treason case but in June 2018 Pakistan's Supreme Court ordered that the national identity card and passport be unblocked so that he can return to the country.

“The fact that the Interpol only last week refused to issue arrest warrants for Musharraf speaks a lot on how such cases are seen. Ishaq Dar’s case is not different from Gen Musharraf. By directing to block Dar’s passport, Pakistani authorities will give him reasons not to be able to travel to Pakistan and attend court and render him stateless to apply protection under Geneva Convention 1951 (Article 1A).”

He said the Article 10A ensures due process and fair trial and if Robert Radley, British Solicitor Akhtar Raja and Memogate fame Mansur Ejaz can give evidence through video conference from Pakistan High Commission London, Ishaq Dar may be asked to give his evidence from London if his arrival can’t be waited any longer on medical reasons.

A source close to Ishaq Dar said that the former finance minister has “all the evidence to prove that the 3-page report filed by JIT was mala fide on the basis of which Supreme Court directed NAB to file a reference against him”.

The source added: “In case such evidence is brought before a court in the UK, Mr Dar will be able to prove that his assets are lawful, not beyond his known sources of income and are in line with his declarations with FBR for last 34 years and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).”

Ishaq dar arrived in the UK last year in November to seek medical treatment. He has sent medical reports to Pakistan regularly showing that he suffers from serious Cervical ailment and disability. He is under treatment of London Neurosurgery Partnership at Harley Street.

The NAB approached the Interpol around six weeks ago declaring Ishaq Dar absconder and seeking red warrants for him.

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