Home News Analysis The NAB vs Dar game continues as PML-N lend full support to...

The NAB vs Dar game continues as PML-N lend full support to the Finance Minister

Finance Minister

News Analysis |

The accountability court has resumed the fifth hearing of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s graft reference after it was postponed earlier today due to non-availability of his counsel, Khawaja Harris. However, Ishaq Dar appeared in the court today despite attempts to take exemptions from attending hearings in relation to the graft reference filed against him.

The National Accountability Bureau(NAB) indicted him last month over the reference filed by it following the orders of the Supreme Court in its unanimous Panama verdict on 28th July. The NAB reference against the incumbent Finance Minister alleges 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).”

Do retired generals have immunity in this country? Do the accountability courts have no authority to take action against Musharraf? Why isn’t Imran Khan arrested?” she asked vociferously

The graft reference further alleges that Dar’s assets were“disproportionate to his known sources of income for which he could not reasonably account for”.

During the proceedings before the adjournment today, the anti-graft court rejected the plea of Dar’s junior lawyer, Kauseen Faisal Mufti to grant the defendant exemptions from future hearings. Mufti’s application contended that Dar should be given relaxation on appearances because it is affecting his duties as finance minister. While analysts, critics, and opponents have demanded Dar to resign, he is trying to stay put.

Read more: NAB: National or Nawaz’s Accountability Bureau?

The prosecution is likely to present Masood Ghani as its fourth witness in the case. On previous hearings, Dar’s counsel had raised objections to the relevance and admissibility of the witnesses being produced in NAB.

Defend at all Costs

The painstakingly long hearing on 12th October saw Dar’s counsel challenging the documents produced by the witnesses. According to legal experts and political analysts, the defense strategy of the Sharif family and Ishaq Dar is similar on one count: hiding behind legal nuances and technical blips rather than the merits of their respective cases.

Aziz who had previously, by virtue of being part of General Musharraf’s team had berated Dar, lent full support to him. He questioned that when the case is not about corruption, what is the real purpose of targeting the incumbent finance minister

Watchers are concerned that Dar’s references are damaging for the government and the country till he remains finance minister. At a time when the country’s economy is grappling with steeply reducing foreign exchange reserves, the demand from the indicted Dar to resign has gained traction and momentum.

However, Dar’s colleagues in the cabinet and the PML-N took to a media talk to defend him. PML-N leader Daniyal Aziz, widely-known for his outright defense of the Sharif family came out all guns blazing today. While lashing out at opponents, the feisty Aziz said that the case is not even remotely related to Panama. “There is no corruption allegation against Ishaq Dar. All of this is false propaganda created to portray it as a case of corruption,” he asserted.

Read more: Is NAB really capable of initiating meaningful investigation against Nawaz?

Aziz who had previously, by virtue of being part of General Musharraf’s team berated Dar, lent full support to him. He questioned that when the case is not about corruption, what is the real purpose of targeting the incumbent finance minister.

According to legal experts and political analysts, the defense strategy of the Sharif family and Ishaq Dar is similar on one count: hiding behind legal nuances and technical blips rather than the merits of their respective cases

Analysts have pointed out that the PML-N tries to garner sympathies by whipping the conspiracy narrative, especially by encouraging rumor mongering about civil-military relations. Keen observers have also analyzed that PML-N instead of putting up a formidable defense for the Sharif family, ratchets up its tirade against its opponents, especially PTI Chief, Imran Khan.

Today, State Minister for IT, Anusha Rehman, spoke in her customary manner and took digs at Imran Khan, the generals, and the judges. “Do retired generals have immunity in this country? Do the accountability courts have no authority to take action against Musharraf? Why isn’t Imran Khan arrested?” she asked vociferously.

Read more: NAB claims will chase the Sharifs in London as they attempt…

Experts predict that more the noose around Dar tightens, the more his associates in the government ramp up efforts to link his case with a conspiracy_, in this case, Dar’s indictment will be related to efforts to damage Pakistan’s highly-vaunted economic stability.


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