Islamabad (October 12, 2017): Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has on Thursday appeared for another hearing of assets beyond means case in an accountability court.
According to the details, Corruption proceedings against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar finished for the day after a marathon eight-hour hearing in the accountability court hearing the Supreme Court-directed National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference.
Details of Dar’s five bank accounts were submitted to the court by NAB. Hearing for the assets reference case against the finance minister was conducted by Justice Mohammad Bashir.
During the hearing conducted on Thursday, the prosecution’s witness Tariq Javed submitted details of Dar’s of five accounts, belonging to two of his companies and his wife.The accountability court had summoned two witnesses of the prosecution — Shahid Aziz and Tariq Javed — to record their statements pertaining to the case today.
Javed presented details of the bank accounts of Dar’s wife and the companies Hajveri Modarba and Hajveri Holdings.
Ishaq Dar’s counsel Khawaja Haris questioned on the authenticity of the documents and said anyone can prepare such papers. The documents cannot be made a part of the record until their verification, he maintained. Judge Muhammad Bashir remarked that this is not such a matter, as these are bank documents.NAB prosecutor said that the papers are according to electronics transaction ordinance, and the objections of Khawaja Haris are not valid. He said that it is court’s duty whether to accept the documents as the primary evidence or not. The prosecutor further added that the bank statement starts from October 14, 2000.
Khawaja Haris said no transaction has been made from the account since 2006, and requested the court to make Ishaq Dar’s objections a part of the record.
Addressing the media outside the court in the morning, Privatisation Minister Daniyal Aziz said they have objected to every page submitted by the witnesses, as these documents aren’t proven.
“Today’s proceedings are under a cloud of objections,” said Aziz, adding that it is surprising that since day one Dar’s name was nowhere near the Panama Papers but with the [PTI’s] lockdown [in 2016], all the ‘targets’ have been achieved.“This is a political case but we are still bowed before the courts. Not a single person, including judges and media owners, named in the Panama Papers has faced courts even though [Jamaati-e-Islami chief] Sirajul Haq’s petition [in the Supreme Court] had mentioned every individual named in the Panama Papers.
The security was beefed up by the authorities as at least 200 personnel of capital police and Frontier Corps have been deployed in and around the judicial complex. Furthermore, all routes have been sealed off to prevent the entrance of any unauthorized person except one entry point.
Dar is accompanied by Aziz and State IT Minister Anusha Rehman, among others, in the hearing.
The NAB has submitted a list of 28 witnesses with the court.At the last hearing on October 4, NAB produced two witnesses: Ishtiaq Ali of Bank Alfalah and senior vice-president of Al Baraka bank, Tariq Javed.
Only Ali recorded his statement with the court and was then cross-examined by Dar’s counsel, Advocate Amjad Pervez. Dar’s counsel objected to the documents presented by NAB, saying they are mere photocopies and not verified documents.
Dar was indicted on September 27 in the assets reference case, however, he denied all charges and vowed to prove his innocence in court.Dar challenged his indictment and trial in the Islamabad High Court but the pleas were dismissed with directions to take them to Justice Ijazul Ahsan, the Supreme Court judge monitoring the corruption references.
The corruption reference, pertaining to Dar’s owning assets that are disproportionate to his known sources of income, was filed by the National Accountability Bureau in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 judgment in the Panama Papers case.
After skipping his first hearing, for which a summons had been issued, Dar appeared in court later after bailable warrants for his arrest had been issued to ensure his presence.The judge then directed Dar to deposit a Rs5 million surety bond to ensure his appearance at the hearings.
NAB readies 28 witnesses against Ishaq Dar
Witnesses include members of the Joint Investigation Team, formed by the top court earlier this year in corruption cases against the then premier Nawaz Sharif and his family.
The Joint Investigation Team was formed by the apex court in a verdict delivered on April 20th which concluded its findings in two months and filed a report early July.
Following which, the five-member top court bench disqualified the then premier in the corruption reference.In its verdict, the apex court had ordered filing of references against Nawaz Sharif, his family and relative and minister Ishaq Dar, proceedings of which were to be overseen by a judge.
In compliance to the order, the accountability bureau pursued cases against the former first family of Pakistan and Dar.
The accountability court had indicted Ishaq Dar on September 27. The finance minister had denied all charges that were levelled against him terming them false, and submitted surety bonds worth five million rupees as per directions of the court.
However, NAB Special Prosecutor Imran Shafiq argued that it is the court’s job to decide what is primary evidence, and that any missing or unverified documents can be added and corrected later.
Later, Shahid Aziz of the National Investment Trust (NIT) gave his testimony.
The finance minister’s legal team also conducted a cross-examination of the witness and the documents presented before the court.