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Ishaq Dar to reply by October 30 to accountability court

24 October, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: The accountability court on Monday directed Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to furnish his reply by October 30 on a plea of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), seeking to freeze all his movable and immovable assets.

When Court Judge Muhammad Bashir resumed the hearing on graft reference against Dar, NAB’s prosecutor Imran Shafique pleaded that orders may be issued for freezing all assets of the accused Finance Minister, in accordance with the directions of Bureau’s chairman.

The court then directed Dar to reply to the NAB’s plea on next hearing and recorded the statements of two more prosecution witnesses, who testified against Dar.

Both the witnesses Masood ul Ghani of Habib Bank and Abdul Rahman Gondal of Allied Bank, were later cross- examined by Dar’s senior counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmad.

During the cross examination, heated exchange of harsh words took place between the NAB’s prosecutor and Khawaja Haris, when Haris asked some technical questions from the prosecution witnesses.

NAB prosecutor contended that Haris was creating a hostile atmosphere by cross examining the witnesses in a hostile manner. Haris then asked the prosecutor to address media if he wanted to make the headlines.

The prosecutor claimed that the witnesses were being influenced by the defendant. The witness Abdul Rehman Gondal submitted details of an account owned by Dar in a bank situated inside the Parliament House. He told the court that he first appeared before the NAB investigator along with the relevant record on August 17, 2017.

He stated that he provided bank statements of Dar from March 25, 2005 to August 16, 2017 to the NAB investigator. The details of bank transactions provided by the witness were made part of the case record by the court, besides directing him to also appear on next hearing with additional record, duly certified by the bank.

The second witness, Masood ul Ghani, told the court that he has also provided all available details of Dar’s bank account to the NAB’s investigator.

In his cross-examination, Khawaja Haris contended that the verified copies of bank documents presented by Ghani were different from the originals submitted to NAB. The court then directed the witness to also appear on next hearing with the original and additional documents.

The court noted that the evidence of both the witnesses was not being closed and directed both of them to come up on next hearing with additional documents and evidence.

“The objective of recording statements of various bank officials was to collect the bank data of the accused and compare it with his declared assets to ascertain the wrongdoing, if any”, the judge noted.

The court also summoned two more witnesses- Faisal Shahzad and Muhammad Azeem Khan- both from banking sector- for the next hearing, and adjourned further proceedings till October 30.

The NAB’s through a fresh application told the court that while exercising powers under Section 12 of the NAB Ordinance of 1999, NAB chairman has passed order on October 18, for freezing the assets, properties, bank accounts and investments of Dar, and requested the court to issue order for seizing all assets of Ishaq Dar.

It was seventh appearance of Dar before the court. The court has so far recorded the statements of five witnesses out of total 28. Earlier, Ishtiaq Ali of Bank Alfalah, Shahid Aziz of National Investment Trust and Tariq Javed of Al Baraka Bank, had recorded their statements.

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