ISLAMABAD: The defunct finance minister Ishaq Dar has filed objection to the order of an accountability court regarding the freezing of his properties.
Dar’s counsel filed the objection on Wednesday.
The defunct minister objected that the order to freeze assets was issued without giving him proper opportunity of defence.
The counsel said that the accountability court invoked section 17 (c) of National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) twice against Mr Dar adding that at the time of indictment, the court gave him less than 48 hours whereas under the routine practice the court frame charges at least seven days after supplying the copies of reference to the accused.
Likewise, he said the court under Section 87 of the CrPC had to give at least 30 days to Mr Dar after issuance of proclamation but by invoking the said section, it reduced the timeframe and declared the defunct minister as proclaimed offender after 10 days.
He said that Dar even agreed continuation of trial through a pleader since due to his ailment, he was unable to personally attend the proceeding but the prosecution pointed out that under section 540-A of the CrPC, single accused could not be given exemption from personal hearing.
He further said that the accountability judge could relax the rule by invoking section 17 (c) for Mr Dar but he didn’t extend such relief to the accused person.
The Islamabad High Court stopped the accountability court from proceeding against Mr Dar on Dec 20, 2017 after the defunct minister pointed out some anomalies in his trial in the assets reference filed against him on the direction of the Supreme Court.
The apex court in its July 28, 2017,verdict directed NAB to file four references – three against Nawaz Sharif and his family and one against Dar – in the accountability court with the direction to the accountability judge to complete the trial in six months.
The accountability court has declared Dar a proclaimed offender, initiated process of confiscating his properties and started ex-parte proceedings against the defunct minister with a fast pace until Dec 20, 2017 when IHC stopped the trial proceedings till January 17.
The reason why IHC issued the stay order against Dar’s trial is that the accountability court relaxed the provision of National Accountability Ordinance to expedite proceeding against the defunct minister, which according to the defence counsel is benefiting the prosecution.
Under the criminal procedure code, an accused is declared proclaimed offender at least after 30 days of issuance of proclamation, but in Dar’s case, the accountability judge Mohammad Bashir invoked section 17 (c) of the National Accountability Ordinance which empowers him to relax any procedural law to reduce the mandatory timeframe to 10 days.
Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2018