Ishaq Dar gets clean chit in assets beyond means case

An accountability court in Islamabad on Tuesday ended proceedings in an asset beyond means case against Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Ishaq Dar.

Judge Mohammad Bashir said during today’s sessions, “After the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Act 2022, this matter does not fall under the jurisdiction of this court.”

A day earlier, the court had reserved the decision.

The court also stated that it lacked the authority to rule on Dar’s acquittal plea because the matter did not fall under its jurisdiction when it announced the decision.

After the government modified the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 a few months ago, courts all around the country have returned cases because many of them no longer fell under their authority.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) accused Finance Minister Ishaq Dar of having assets that were out of proportion to his claimed sources of income in a case that was brought against him in December 2017.

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Panama Papers case on July 28, 2017, NAB filed a reference against the PML-N leader.

Due to Dar’s persistent absence from the hearings, the accountability court had also designated him a proclaimed offender; however, once Dar appeared before the court in October 2022, the court suspended its arrest orders.

The National Accountability (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022, which attempted to exempt private transactions from the reach of NAB, was approved by the National Assembly in August.

The new bill fixed NAB’s pecuniary jurisdiction so that it could only take legal action in response to major scandals. Additionally, it had been suggested that to speed up the court’s processes within a year, supplementary references could only be filed with the court’s consent.

The National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf, former chief minister of Punjab Hamza Shahbaz, and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani were among the offenders in 50 significant corruption cases that accountability courts dismissed after the amendment.

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