Ishaq Dar appears in court for assets reference hearing


ISLAMABAD, Oct 4 (TNS):  The accountability court hearing the Supreme Court-directed corruption reference against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar will record the statement of two prosecution witnesses today.

The finance minister was late to court today. As a result, the judge temporarily suspended the hearing until the accused showed up.

As Dar reached the court, the hearing went under way.

At the last hearing, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) submitted a list of 28 witnesses. Today, NAB produced two witnesses for recording their statement: Inland Revenue Commissioner, Lahore Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan and senior vice-president of Al Baraka bank, Tariq Javed.

Compared to October 2, when the Rangers had taken over security of the judicial complex and disallowed everyone, even the interior minister, to enter the premises to attend the hearing of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the police have complete control of the complex and the paramilitary force is nowhere to be seen.

Eight journalists have been allowed to cover today’s courtroom proceedings after a delegation of reporters reached an understanding with the court’s registrar.

Dar was indicted last Wednesday by Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir.

Dar has denied all charges and vowed to prove his innocence in court. He had also challenged his indictment and trial in the Islamabad High Court but the pleas were dismissed.

The corruption reference, pertaining to Dar’s owning assets that are disproportionate to his known sources of income, was filed by NAB in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 judgment in the Panama Papers case.

After skipping his first hearing on September 20, for which a summons had been issued, Dar appeared in court on September 25 after bailable warrants for his arrest had been issued to ensure his presence.