News Analysis |
An accountability court on Thursday granted finance minister, Ishaq Dar exemption from the proceedings for the day in the graft reference filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in-line with the orders of the Supreme Court. Dar is in London and hence failed to appear in the anti-graft court.
Dar, 67, has been summoned for the next hearing on 8th November.
NAB has alleged that “the accused has acquired assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his own name and/or in the name of his dependents of an approximate amount of Rs 831.678 million (approx)”. The charge sheet also accuses that Dar’s “assets were disproportionate to his known sources of income for which he could not reasonably account for”.
Nawaz Sharif has seemingly rolled his sleeves for a showdown, it would be interesting to see how Dar exonerates himself, that too without much support.
Dar’s junior counsel, Ayesha Hamid who appeared in the court in the absence of the main counsel, Khawaja Harris submitted a medical report from a foreign hospital that states the finance minister is ill and “cannot stand for more than four minutes.” The report further suggests that Dar is facing heart palpitations.
Dar, who has been under tremendous pressure to resign after he was indicted in September, has refused to budge an inch. While defending his performance as finance minister, Dar said his resignation is the prerogative of the party. His colleagues in the PML-N and the federal cabinet have time and again pointed toward a conspiracy to dislodge Dar from power. Experts believe that the country may soon have to go back to the IMF owing to Dar’s inept financial management.
“The NAB chairman has the power to freeze assets for 15 days. The court can make a request and a UAE court can rule on it.”
Dar got a temporary leeway when the court exempted him from yesterday’s hearings and also did not convert his bailable warrants issued on 30th October into non-bailable one. “The report should have been forwarded to the court through the Foreign Office, which should have received it from the Pakistan High Commission,” the prosecutor said. But the court overruled the objections.
However, the trouble for Dar is far from over. During the proceedings, NAB said that Saeed Ahmed, President of the National Bank (NBP) has agreed to become an approver against Dar. Saeed alleged that Ishaq Dar’s company opened five foreign currency accounts in various banks of Lahore on his name with the help of stolen identity card and forged signatures, adding that he is unaware of those accounts.
The prosecutor implored the court to validate his claim of freezing Dar’s accounts. However, Ms. Ayesha retorted and said: “Of the four bank accounts under Dar’s name, only one is operational and holds Rs 20 million while the other three hold Rs232, Rs10, Rs1,990, respectively.
Dar is in London and hence failed to appear in the anti-graft court. Dar,67, has been summoned on the next hearing on 8th November
She added that Dar’s Dubai properties are not within the jurisdiction of NAB and cannot be freezed. However, the prosecutor said: “The NAB chairman has the power to freeze assets for 15 days. The court can make a request and a UAE court can rule on it.”
Dar is in the midst of real trouble according to people closely following the developments in the case. It is also noteworthy to mention that the party’s singular focus on defending Nawaz Sharif has resulted in lackluster support for Dar. Watchers believe that he is fighting the battle alone. While Nawaz Sharif has seemingly rolled his sleeves for a showdown, it would be interesting to see how Dar exonerates himself, that too without much support.