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Prosecution to charge Pakistan finance minister over graft case

Dar appears before court; to be charged on Wednesday

Image Credit: AFP
Ishaq Dar
Gulf News

Islamabad: Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Monday appeared before an accountability court here in connection with the Panama Papers scandal and submitted surety bonds worth Rs1 million to secure his bail.

The court, which is hearing graft cases filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on September 8 against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his children and Dar, had issued a bailable arrest warrant against the minister on September 20.

Dar, 67, returned from London on Monday morning along with Sharif who is expected to face corruption and money laundering charges in the Panama Papers scandal on Tuesday.

Dar’s lawyer deposited surety bonds worth Rs1 million to avoid his arrest.

The court, after a brief hearing, postponed the case of Dar till September 27 and asked him to appear again as he would be formally indicted by the prosecution in a corruption case for having assets beyond his known sources of income.

The NAB has filed three cases of corruption and money laundering against Sharif, his sons — Hassan and Hussain, daughter — Maryam, son-in-law — Safdar, and Dar in the accountability court.

The Supreme Court on July 28 disqualified Sharif from the prime minister’s office in the Panama Papers scandal.

The court’s ruling stated that Sharif had been dishonest in not disclosing his earnings from a Dubai-based company of his son in his nomination papers during the 2013 general election.

According to the Supreme Court, the accountability judge should decide the cases within six months.

It was not immediately clear if Dar would also be forced to step down.

Dar’s lawyer on Monday said that disqualification is not mandatory when a holder of public office is being tried in a criminal case.

“There is no bar under any law of the country that any holder of public office if tried under criminal charges stands disqualified or he cannot retain that office,” Advocate Amjad Pervaiz lawyer of Ishaq Dar told reporters.

When asked about time for reply, he said, the matter was raised before the Accountability Court but the court informed that after directions by the Supreme Court to dispense with the matter within stipulated period, more time could not be given.

Answering a question if he thinks that justice was being done, the lawyer said, it is before time to comment on it. But, in today’s proceedings we were not given seven days time that is general practice in court proceedings.