General

CJP questions Ishaq Dar’s whereabouts in Senate election case

Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar questioned on Tuesday the whereabouts of former finance minister Ishaq Dar in a case pertaining to the approval of his nomination papers for the Senate elections.
A petition, moved by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) candidate Nawazish Pirzada, had requested the apex court to suspend the Lahore High Court judgment allowing Dar to contest the March 3 Senate elections. He was successfully elected to the Senate from Punjab but is yet to be administered oath.
During the hearing of the case, Chief Justice Nisar remarked: “Where is Ishaq Dar? You can bring him here today or tomorrow. We had issued orders summoning Dar.”
Responding to this, Dar’s legal counsel, Advocate Salman Aslam Butt, said that Dar is unwell and seeking treatment in London. Hearing this, the CJP remarked that a sickness cannot last this long.
“Tell us when he will appear before court. We can even issue him a protective bail. We have issued orders once, we can’t issue them again,” observed the chief justice, adding that, “We are present here till 8pm in the evening.”
On April 21, Dar in a reply submitted by Butt had contended that after the enactment of 18th Amendment there was no provision under law and Constitution barring an absconder from contesting Senate elections.
“Having canvassed the amendments made to Article 63 of the Constitution … there is no prohibition on a person who has been declared an absconder from contesting the Senate elections. Accordingly, an appeal is liable to be dismissed,” the reply stated.
“A person can only be debarred from contesting the elections if his case falls squarely within the strict scope of the qualification and disqualification stipulated by the Constitution and by law. Since the law favours a liberal interpretation … therefore the Writ Petition was not maintainable,” the reply added.
On February 17, an appellate election tribunal of the LHC had granted Dar permission to contest Senate elections, setting aside an order of the returning officer (RO) who had rejected his nomination papers.
Dar has been out of the country since October last year on account of his medical treatment. He has since been declared a proclaimed offender in the corruption case filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau.