ISLAMABAD: An accountability court conducting trial of former finance minister Ishaq Dar on Thursday directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to start producing witnesses in the next hearing after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) vacated the stay earlier granted over the proceedings.
Accountability court judge Muhammad Bashir ordered NAB prosecutor Imran Shafique to submit a reply to Dar’s petition in which objections were raised to the court’s earlier orders of freezing his assets.
The NAB prosecutor informed the accountability court that the IHC had dismissed Dar’s petition challenging several orders of the accountability court, through which the court had issued bailable and non-bailable warrants of arrest and later declared him a proclaimed offender.
Subsequently, the accountability court directed him to produce more witnesses on the next date of hearing.
In the previous hearing, the accountability court judge had issued a notice to the NAB’s investigation officer after Dar, through his counsel Qausain Faisal Mufti, raised objections to the court’s order to freeze his assets.
The counsel said that assets of Hajveri Trust and Hajveri Foundation could not be frozen without issuing a notice as they were separate entities. Calling the freezing process illegal, he requested the court to unfreeze the assets of the former finance minister.
The court had confirmed freezing of assets, properties, bank accounts and investments of Dar in Pakistan and abroad, except an account with the Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR).
Shafique had told the court that section 12 enables the NAB chairman to pass an order to freeze assets as and when required. He had asked the court to pass an order for confirmation of the ‘freezing order’ which was accepted.
On Dec 20, 2017, the IHC had restrained the accountability court from proceeding further against Dar till January 17, observing that several questions of law needed consideration.
On January 17, the IHC dismissed Dar’s petition and vacated the stay over proceedings.
The accountability court will now resume hearing on January 24.
Dismissal vacates stay granted earlier
Directs NAB to bring in as many witnesses as they can to next hearing
Court also declared the former finance minister a proclaimed offender