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Court adjourns hearing Dar asset reference till January 2 after IHC stay

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court here on Thursday adjourned hearing of corruption reference against former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar till January 2, 2018 after Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday issued a ‘stay of proceeding’ against Dar. 

At outset of the court proceedings today, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Imran Shafique informed Judge Muhammad Bashir about the IHC’s stay order in the case against Dar for possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.

To which, the accountability judge inquired the prosecutor whether he had an endorsed copy of the court orders.

The prosecutor then replied he had filed an application to the court for a copy of stay orders.

The judge then asked about date of next hearing into Dar’s petition in the IHC.

In reply, the prosecutor said the IHC had issued stay of proceeding against Dar till January 17 next year.

“Does anyone have come to attend the hearing session from the defendant side,” Judge Muhammad Bashir asked the prosecutor.

The NAB prosecutor responded negative, saying nobody has come to attend the hearing as Dar’s representative.

Dar’s good faith in facing charges against him will be learnt in few days after he makes a final decision whether or not to return to the country,” the prosecutor said.

The judge then adjourned the hearing till January 2, 2018.

IHC’s stay orders

On Wednesday, the IHC issued stay orders in corruption reference being hearing by an accountability court against former finance minister Ishaq Dar till further orders.

The court was hearing a a petition filed by Dar challenging the accountability court’s order to declare him a proclaimed offender over his perpetual absence during the trial proceedings.

A division bench, comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb also barred the trial court from taking any action against Dar’s guarantor, Ahmed Ali Quddusi.

Dar moved the high court through his counsel, alleging that the accountability judge Muhammad Bashir declared him a proclaimed offender without fulfilling the mandatory requirements.

He pointed out that the trial court started the process of confiscation of his properties a few days after the issuance of proclamation. However, the law requires the court to start this process at least 30 days after publication of proclamation.

The former finance minister had requested the court to declare the trial court’s order of pronouncing him proclaimed offender as illegal and void.

Meanwhile, the bench extended its stay order, restraining the authorities concerned from attaching movable property of Ishaq Dar’s guarantor Ahmed Ali Quddusi for one day.

On December 11, the Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir had ordered to attach movable properties of the surety giver over his failure to ensure Dar’s presence in court

The hearing was adjourned till Jan 17.

Dar declared proclaimed offender

The court had declared Ishaq Dar a proclaimed offender for being absent in the court’s proceedings in a corruption reference filed against him by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in compliance with Supreme Court’s landmark July 28 verdict.

According to the NAB reference, the accused had acquired assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his name or in the name of his dependents of an approximate amount of Rs831.678 million as per the investigation conducted so far.

The assets are disproportionate to his known sources of income for which he could not reasonably account for, the accountability watchdog said.

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