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ISLAMABAD: Former finance minister Ishaq Dar on Wednesday asked an accountability court to restore the account of his charity organisation, the Hajvery Trust.

In his petition, Mr Dar pointed out that the Hajveri Trust was looking after 93 orphans and that freezing its accounts would adversely affect their day-to-day life, including their education and other basic needs.

The petition maintained that the bank account has been frozen over the past few months and the access to it had been denied. Subsequently, the chairperson of the orphanage, Shahida Naeem, was forced to meet the expense of the orphans on her own.

The petition expressed the apprehension that this was not a sustainable arrangement and feared that the orphanage may be closed down due to want of funds.

This would be an irreparable loss to the orphans, as well as the Hajvery Trust, the petition added.

Former minister tells court orphanage run by trust is being deprived of funds

The petition asked the court to allow the trust to operate its bank accounts, which would enable its management look after the orphans under their care in a proper manner.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had frozen all accounts of Mr Dar, including that of the Hajvery Trust, in September last year.

NAB was of the view that the former minister used the trust account to acquire assets beyond his known sources of income.

Mr Dar was facing ex-parte proceedings in the assets reference until Dec 20, when the Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued a stay order against the trial until Jan 17.

IHC stopped the accountability court from proceeding against Mr Dar after he pointed out anomalies in the references against him, filed on the directions of the Supreme Court.

In its July 28, 2017 verdict, the SC had directed NAB to file four references – three against Nawaz Sharif and his family and one against Mr Dar – before the accountability court, with directions to the accountability judge to complete the trial within six months.

The accountability court had earlier declared Mr Dar a proclaimed offender and initiated process of confiscating his properties after he left the country for medical treatment.

NAB had seized all of Dar’s moveable and immoveable assets under Section 12 of the National Accountability Ordinance of 1999, including House No 7, Block H, Gulberg III, Lahore; three plots in Al-Falah Housing Society, Lahore; six-acres of land in Islamabad, a two-kanal plot in the Parliamentarians’ Enclave, Islamabad; a two-kanal plot with Ayaz Builders (Pvt) Limited; a plot in the Senate Cooperative Housing Society , Islamabad; another plot measuring two kanals and nine marlas; and six vehicles.

NAB accuses Mr Dar of owing assets beyond his known sources of income, alleging that he acquired assets in his name and/or in the names of his dependants to the tune of Rs831.7million, which was disproportionate to his known sources of income.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2018