ISLAMABAD: In another high profile case an accountability court has indicted Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in corruption case. A reference was filed against him by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for acquiring assets beyond his sources of income.
According to reports, Judge Muhammad Bashir read out the charges during hearing on Wednesday. Dar on the other hand has rejected the charges put up against him and decided to contest them.
The court while adjourning the hearing has directed the NAB to begin producing witnesses for next hearing. The next hearing will be held on October 4, 2017.
Earlier on Monday, Dar was summoned in connection with reference filed against him in pursuance of Supreme Court verdict in Panama Papers.
However, Dar was granted bail as he submitted a surety bond worth one million rupees. National Accountability Bureau (NAB) issued a bailable arrest warrant against the finance minister, after he failed to act in accordance with summon issued by the same court earlier this month.
Strict security measures have been taken to secure the premises of court, journalist, lawyers and public have been barred from entering the court as the main gate has been sealed.
Reports suggest that if indicted, Dar could get 14 years in prison.
Dar was credited with steering Pakistan’s economy to a sounder footing following a 2013 balance of payments crisis but over the past year those economic gains have begun to erode, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and analysts.
Growth in the $300 billion economy hit 5.3 percent last fiscal year (July-June), the fastest pace in a decade, but foreign currency reserves have dwindled and the 2016/17 current account deficit has more than doubled to $12.1 billion.
Dar’s reluctance to let the rupee weaken to ease current account pressures has courted criticism from economists, who say the PML-N is making economic decisions with one eye on the next general election, likely to be held in mid-2018.
Some analysts have warned Pakistan may need to go back to the IMF for another bailout package if current trends continue.
Under new Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Dar has been removed from the post of chairing the cabinet’s powerful Economic Coordination Committee. —AAJNews/Reuters