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Ishaq Dar appeal for exemption from personal appearance rejected

17 October, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: The accountability court on Monday rejected a plea by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar seeking exemption from personal appearance during the hearing of a graft reference against him.

Rejecting the plea, judge Muhammad Bashir observed that the presence of the accused was mandatory during the period the prosecution witnesses recorded their statements and were cross-examined. When the hearing started, Kauseen Faisal Mufti, a member of Dar’s legal team, apprised the court that his client’s lead counsel Khawaja Haris could not turn up due to some of his personal engagements and will appear around 12 pm.

He also pleaded the court to exempt his client from personal appearance for Monday due to some of his official work as finance minister. The court, however, stated that Khawaja Haris could advance the arguments for exemption of his client from personal appearance. It also noted that the presence of the accused was necessary when witnesses were recording their statements, thus he could not be granted exemption from personal appearance. The court then adjourned the proceedings till 12 pm, directing Ishaq Dar to appear again with his lead counsel.

When the hearing resumed at 12 pm, Khawaja Haris requested the court to exempt his client from personal appearance. However, NAB’s prosecutor submitted that the finance minister should relieve himself of his official duties and ensure his presence in the court.
The court against repeated its observations that presence of the accused was mandatory when witnesses were recording their statements and being cross-examined, thus he could not be granted exemption from personal appearance.

When Khawaja Haris resumed the cross-examination of Tariq Javed, senior vice-president of Al Baraka Bank, and asked him about the authenticity of the documents he produced before the court, he stated that he did not read the documents in detail before submitting. Khawaja Haris then told the court that the witness was telling a lie before the court, which was required to be noted.

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