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IHC seeks comments on Ahsan Iqbal’s acquittal plea

Reference against Ishaq Dar adjourned until April 13

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday served notices on the respondents on a petition by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ahsan Iqbal in which he challenged the dismissal of his acquittal plea by the accountability court in the Narowal Sports City Complex reference.

A division bench consisting of Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz heard the case.

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Ahsan Iqbal appeared before the court along with his lawyer Zulifqar Abbas Naqvi.

The lawyer pleaded that the project was approved by the then cabinet. He said funds could be issued by the federation for a provincial project under the law.

The chief justice observed that the accountability court itself admitted that this matter didn’t fall under Section 9 of the Ordinance. The court served notices on the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and other respondents for April 13 and adjourned the case.

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It may be mentioned here that the accountability court had earlier dismissed the acquittal plea of Ahsan Iqbal.

The NAB had alleged that the ex-minister misused his powers to execute the provincial project.

Meanwhile, the accountability court adjourned the hearing of the Narowal Sports City Complex reference until April 26.

AC-III judge Syed Asghar Ali heard the reference filed by the NAB. The court adjourned the hearing due to the absence of the defence lawyer.

Meanwhile, an accountability court of Islamabad adjourned the hearing of acquittal pleas of co-accused in the reference against former finance minister Ishaq Dar and others until April 13.

AC-1 judge Muhammad Bashir heard the pleas filed by three of the co-accused, challenging the reference under the NAB Amendment Ordinance. NAB Prosecutor Afzal Qureshi and defence lawyers appeared before the court.

Defence lawyer Hashmat Ali continued his arguments while Qazi Misbah would give arguments on the next date of hearing. It may be mentioned here that Ishaq Dar had already been declared an absconder in the case.

On the other hand, the Lahore High Court (LHC) issued notices to former federal minister Barjees Tahir on a petition filed by the NAB, challenging an order of the accountability court.

The division bench of Justice Syed Shahbaz Ali Rizvi and Justice Anwaarul Haq Pannun heard the petition filed by the bureau.

A prosecutor, on behalf of the NAB, argued before the bench that the former federal minister had approached the accountability court for pre-arrest bail in an ‘assets beyond means’ inquiry initiated against him.

The court ordered the bureau to inform in advance if it wanted to issue warrants for the arrest of Tahir while disposing of the bail matter, he added.

He argued that the orders passed by the accountability court were illegal and could not sustain in the eyes of the law. The prosecutor pleaded with the court to set aside the orders for being illegal.

The bench, after hearing initial arguments, issued notices to Barjees Tahir and sought a reply by April 18.

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