As the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday submitted details pertaining to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar's confessional statement in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference, Dar's lawyer argued his client cannot stand trial again on the allegations against him.

Presenting his arguments before a five-judge Supreme Court bench hearing the Panamagate case, Dar's counsel, Shahid Hamid, asserted that his client cannot be disqualified on the charge of money laundering as the case against him had been dropped.

"He [Ishaq Dar] cannot be disqualified based on the allegations," Hamid said. "Ishaq Dar did not hold public office when the allegations of money laundering were made," he argued.

During the hearing on Friday, Hamid had also contended that his client had made the confessional statement under duress.

Soon after the Oct 12, 1999, coup, in which the then Nawaz Sharif government was sent packing, Dar had been put under house arrest and detained for 23 months.

“They [Pervez Musharraf government] even asked him [Dar] to cooperate by offering that if he plays ball with them he will be inducted into the then government,” the counsel had claimed.

NAB prosecutor general's statement

The NAB Prosecutor General (PG) Waqas Qadeer Dar, who had been summoned to court on Friday, today recorded a statement in court.

The NAB PG told the court that Ishaq Dar had recorded a statement regarding the Hudaibiya reference before a district magistrate in Lahore on April 25, 2000.

Ishaq Dar had, in his statement, confessed to involvement in laundering $14.86 million (about Rs1.2bn) for the Sharif family, the PG said.

Waqas Qadeer Dar told the court that Ishaq Dar had submitted a request for acquittal from the case on April 20.

To this, the bench inquired why no appeals were registered by NAB, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan or the State Bank of Pakistan against the request.

The PG told the the court that it had been decided during a NAB session that no appeals would be registered in the Hudaibiya case.

On hearing this, the court ordered the NAB PG to submit the minutes of the NAB session he was referring to in court.

'Nawaz Sharif not associated with London flats'

PM Nawaz Sharif's son's counsel, Salman Akram Raja, told the bench today that he would make his argument from three aspects.

Raja said he would argue that Hussain Nawaz is the beneficial owner of the London flats and that Nawaz Sharif had no association with them.

He also said he would address accusations levelled against his client that Hussain was the benami owner of the family's London properties while his father Nawaz was the real owner.

Justice Ejaz Afzal told Raja he would have to prove that the properties belong to Hussain Nawaz.

"The prime minister had said there is an abundance of evidence," Justice Khosa reminded the counsel.

Touching on the money trail for the Sharif family's financing for the Gulf Steel Mills in Dubai, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said that the prime minister's cousin, Tariq Shafi, in an affidavit submitted as evidence in court had not mentioned how liabilities for the purchase of the factory were paid off.

In a second affidavit submitted in court, Shafi had said that the 12 million dirham amount was paid off in instalments, the judge remarked. "Was the money transported [there] on camels?" he asked.

The lawyer responded saying that business is conducted in cash all over the world and requested that the activity not be interpreted in the 'wrong way'.

The lawyer was reiterating statements made in the second letter submitted by Qatari royal Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani in court last week.

According to the letter, an investment of approximately 12 million dirhams by the prime minister's father, Mian Muhammad Sharif, in the Al-Thani family's real estate business "was made by way of provision of cash."

The letter also said that the conducting business in cash, at the time of the investment, "was common practice in the Gulf region."



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