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Ishaq Dar failed to appear before NAB court

02 November, 2017

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The accountability court on Thursday resumed the trial in a corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, even as he failed to appear in court.

The finance minister's junior counsel Ayesha — who appeared in court instead of senior counsel Khawaja Haris — filed an application for Dar's exemption from court, after submitting a medical report from a foreign hospital that states that the finance minister is ill and "cannot stand for more than four minutes."

The medical report also says that Dar was facing heart palpitations and doctors had recommended that he should undergo angiography.

Objecting to the submission of the report the NAB prosecutor said that the medical report is from a private hospital and was not submitted to court through proper channel.

"The report should have been forwarded to the court through the the interior ministry, which should have received it by the High Commission of Pakistan," the prosecutor said.

The court reserved judgement on Dar's exemption application before it suspended proceedings for half an hour.

In the previous hearing on Oct 30, the court issued bailable arrest warrants for the minister after rejecting his counsel's application seeking Dar's exemption from appearance in today's hearing.

Proceedings in the trial could not advance due to Dar's absence, even though prosecution witness Abdul Rehman Gondal, branch manager of a private bank's parliament branch, had appeared in the court with two gunny sacks full of documents related to the minister's bank accounts.

At the outset of the hearing, Dar's counsel Khawaja Haris filed an application seeking exemption for the minister's appearance in the court today and adjournment of the hearing until Nov 2. The court initially reserved its decision on the matter but later rejected the application.
'Assets beyond known income'

On July 28, a five-member Supreme Court bench had ordered NAB to file three references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and one against Dar, on petitions filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Imran Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami’s Sirajul Haq and Awami Muslim League’s Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.

In its reference against the finance minister, NAB has alleged that “the accused has acquired assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his own name and/or in the name of his dependants of an approximate amount of Rs831.678 million (approx)”.

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