Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday dismissed two separate petitions of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar challenging his indictment and trial by an accountability court hearing a corruption reference against him.

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

A division bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, while dismissing the petitions for being non-maintainable, suggesting that the petitioner should take up any objections with the monitoring judge of the Supreme Court.

Dar, who submitted the petition on Monday through his counsel Khawaja Haris, stated that he was indicted by the accountability court without giving him the mandated time and requested the court to suspend the indictment proceedings.

The finance minister maintained as he should be given time to file his response on the case, the court should order the accountability court to suspend its trial proceedings until a decision on his petition.

Dar was indicted at the last hearing of the accountability court on September 27. He has denied all charges and vowed to prove his innocence in court.

On Sept 27, Judge Muhammad Bashir of the accountability court had read out charges against Ishaq Dar, which he denied and opted to contest them.

The National Accountability Bureau submitted a list of 28 witnesses to the court, which it will now begin to produce from the next hearing on October 4.

According to the NAB reference, the accused had acquired assets and pecuniary interests/ resources in his name or in the name of his dependents of an approximate amount of Rs831.678 million as per the investigation conducted so far.

The assets are disproportionate to his known sources of income for which he could not reasonably account for, the reference said.