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February 10, 2020

Punjab govt risks legal backlash by turning Dar’s house into Panagah


February 10, 2020

LAHORE: The Punjab government appeared to have risked a legal backlash in its haste to turn the house of former finance minister and PML-N top leader Ishaq Dar into a shelter home (Panagah) despite the laws of land restrict the government against changing the status of properties attached under the NAB Ordinance till final disposal of the case.

The government committed a violation of not only the NAB Ordinance but also the CrPC for moving in an unusual haste to change the status of Ishaq Dar’s property it had attached under the NAB court orders into a shelter home for political point scoring against the opposition party, said advocate Qazi Misbahul Hasan, the counsel of Ishaq Dar’s family while talking to The News.

The government is barred not only by the NAB Ordinance Section 12(F) for not changing the status of any attached property till the final disposal of the case, but also by the CrPC Section 88-6 and its subsections which prohibits the government to either auction or mutate the attached property until one year, to allow the respondents the final decision on their civil suit which is the remedy available to them under the law, Qazi Misbah added.

He said Ishaq Dar’s family has challenged the Punjab government’s decision of converting the attached house into shelter home before the Lahore High Court and the petition is set for hearing today (Monday). He said the Islamabad High Court had already suspended the order of the NAB court of allowing auctioning the attached house, under which the NAB and provincial government would submit their replies on the next hearing fixed for February 13.

Qazi Misbahul Hasan said the NAB Ordinance Section 12-F required that properties frozen and attached under other subsections of Section 12 shall remain intact till the final disposal of the case.

He said this order restricts not only the government but also other institutions against amending the status of the attached properties. Similarly, he said the government should have waited for at least one year to allow the final decision of the civil suit already filed by Ishaq Dar’s family before the relevant court. He said this one year time has to be allowed even if the appeal of Ishaq Dar against the NAB court’s orders was dismissed. He refused to comment further owing to the case being sub judiced, but added that Dar’s family also has the option of moving contempt of court against the Punjab government before the high court.

He said Ishaq Dar’s wife Mrs Tabassum Dar has challenged the NAB court’s orders of attaching the house before the Islamabad High Court on a plea that her husband had purchased it before entering politics and gifted the house to her on February 14, 1989 as dowry money (Meher). He said the IHC after hearing her arguments suspended the NAB court’s order and issued notices for filing replies. A spokesman of the City District Government Lahore said CDGL took possession of the house after the NAB court’s orders to attach the property, and handed it over to the Punjab government. The spokesman said the Islamabad High Court’s order suspended the proposed auction of the property but not the reversal of the attachment orders.

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