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Monday February 06, 2023

AC ends trial against Ishaq Dar in assets beyond means case

An Accountability Court (AC) in Islamabad on Tuesday ended the criminal proceedings against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in an assets beyond means case

November 23, 2022
Ishaq Dar. Screengrab of a Twitter video.
Ishaq Dar. Screengrab of a Twitter video.

ISLAMABAD: An Accountability Court (AC) in Islamabad on Tuesday ended the criminal proceedings against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in an assets beyond means case.

A case was filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in December 2017 against Dar, accusing him of possessing assets disproportionate to his declared sources of income. The court remarked that it no longer has the authority to hear the case or release verdict on pleas seeking acquittal after the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Act 2022. Judge Mohammad Bashir remarked while announcing the verdict reserved by the court a day earlier that “we can neither announce a decision in favour of NAB nor can we issue a decision in favour of the suspect. The trial against Ishaq Dar ends here.”

Courts across the country have returned cases after the government amended the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 a few months back as several cases do not fall under their jurisdiction anymore.

A reference against the PMLN leader was filed by NAB in the light of the Supreme Court’s July 28, 2017 verdict in the Panama Papers case.

Dar had also been declared a proclaimed offender by the accountability court due to his continuous absence from the proceedings — but in October 2022, the court suspended his arrest warrants after he appeared before it.

In August, the National Assembly passed the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022, which sought to exclude private transactions from the scope of NAB.

As per the bill, the investigation officers shall not harass any person during the investigation or inquiry and they will confine their questions relevant to the investigation or inquiry or for extracting evidence.

Following the amendment, accountability courts withdrew 50 major corruption cases against suspects, including cases against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, former chief minister Punjab Hamza Shehbaz, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani.

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