Two witnesses record statements in assets reference case against Dar


ISLAMABAD Oct 4 (TNS): The accountability court hearing the Supreme Court-directed corruption reference against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar recorded statements 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) had 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.

Khan recorded his statement and was then cross-examined by Dar’s counsel, Advocate Amjad Pervez.

During the hearing, the bank account details of Dar and his family were also delivered to NAB. Meanwhile, the evidence of NAB against Dar was also verified by the witnesses.

The hearing was then adjourned until October 12, when one new witness — Shahid Aziz — along with Javed, who appeared today as well, have been summoned.

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 had complete control of the complex today and the paramilitary force was nowhere to be seen.

Eight journalists were 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.