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Pak SC suspends ex-fin min Dar’s Senate membership

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Islamabad, May 8 :  Pakistan’s Supreme Court today suspended the Senate membership of former finance minister Ishaq Dar after he failed to appear before it in connection with a petition contesting his election to the Upper House.

The court had summoned Dar, 67, who has been in London since October 2017 and was declared absconder by an accountability court in a corruption case, to appear on May 8 in a plea challenging his election to the Senate, Pakistani media reported today.

The former finance minister had won a Senate seat in March as a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) backed independent candidate. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) Nawazish Ali Pirzada had received 12 votes as a Senate candidate on technocrat seat from Punjab against Dar’s 155.

Hearing the petition filed by Pirzada, Dar’s lawyer informed the court that he was unwell and unable to appear before the court.

“Whenever we talk about his court appearance he becomes ill but looks good on TV,” Justice Ijazul Ahsan said.

Appearing on behalf of Dar, his lawyer Nasir Bhutta said that the medical certificate and report has been submitted which proves his illness.

But Justice Ahsan, rejected Dar’s medical report, saying “Whenever someone is ill, their medical certificate is presented”.

Yesterday, a medical report was submitted by Dar’s counsel in the apex court which has been issued by the London Neurosurgery Partnership.

The April 26 report stated that Dar also had cardiac issues and had to undergo an emergency stent implant in the past.

The hearing in the case was adjourned until after Eid-ul- Fitr after Chief Justice Saqib Nisar announced that he was going abroad for two weeks.

In February, setting aside an order of the returning officer (RO) who had rejected his nomination papers, an appellate election tribunal of the Lahore High Court had granted Dar permission to contest Senate election.

Pirzada had challenged the Lahore High Court’s judgement allowing Dar to contest the Senate elections in the Supreme Court in March, saying an absconder cannot contest elections.

During the hearing in the apex court last month, Dar had contended that there was no provision under law and Constitution barring an absconder from contesting elections.

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