LONDON: Pakistan’s former finance minister and PML-N leader Ishaq Dar has claimed that he only owns a single property, which is his sole residence in Pakistan, and denied allegations of his property interests abroad.
Appearing on BBC’s well-known programme HARDtalk, Dar said he was living in the United Kingdom due to medical reasons and could not return to Pakistan because he was still suffering.
After the PML-N leader denied allegations of corruption against him and boasted of a clean tax record, host Stephen Sackur asked him point-blank how many properties he and his family owned.
“It’s all declared in my tax returns,” replied Dar. “I have my main residence in Pakistan which has been taken over by this (PTI) regime. I haven’t got too many properties.”
When pushed by Sackur, he said he owned “one” property that was his only residence, and that he possessed no property in London. He said his sons who had been in business for 17 years owned a villa in Dubai but they were independent of him.
Dar, a close aide to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif who is also living in London for medical treatment, was then asked why he didn’t go to Pakistan and make his case before a court of law if his record was so clear and he only owned one property.
“Well the court of law […] my lawyers were there, I’m here for medical treatment, I have cervical issue,” he replied, to which Sackur asked: “Are you still really suffering?”
“Yes, I am,” Dar responded, who has been in Britain for around three years.
“And you couldn’t possibly get back to Pakistan?” Sackur then asked.
“Well let’s see what’s happening in Pakistan,” replied Dar. “Where are the human rights, what’s happening in NAB (National Accountability Bureau) custody where dozens of people have been virtually killed. There are human rights abuses.”
Asked if he was in the UK to “escape the judicial process”, Dar said he had the evidence to disprove the allegations against him but alleged that in Pakistan, the “corruption rhetoric” was used to suppress civilian leaders.
“The corruption rhetoric has been used in the last few dictatorships and the current one isn’t different because this regime is known to be under a covert coup or a judicial martial law. I can prove that there’s nothing against me,” he said.
Commenting over the interview of Ishaq Dar, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz Tuesday criticised the PML-N leader and former finance minister Ishaq Dar and said he had exposed himself during the interview with a foreign news channel.
“What an embarrassment! Well-earned humiliation,” Shibli Faraz said about the interview in a tweet. He said the politics of Ishaq Dar was based on lies. He said the corrupt opposition was indulging in irresponsible activities and causing spread of coronavirus.
Shibli Faraz asked whether it was not foolish on the part of opposition to make fun of the life-threatening disease like coronavirus in the public meetings. He said the world was moving towards curfew and complete lockdown to save itself from coronavirus. “Our opposition is blatantly violating the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and was inviting the virus,” he added.