ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar today again appeared before an accountability court here to face trial in an assets beyond means case.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had registered three cases of corruption and money laundering against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his family members and Finance Minister Dar in the Islamabad Accountability Court.
The cases were registered weeks after the Supreme Court disqualified Sharif as prime minister on July 28th in in the Panama Papers scandal.
Dar, 67, appeared in the court but his chief counsel Khawaja Harris was not present due to some prior commitments.
The court was informed that Harris would come later in the day.
Judge Muhammad Bashir then postponed the hearing till afternoon.
Meanwhile, the court also rejected an application by Dar to exempt him from hearing today.
Federal Minister Daniyal Aziz on Monday said the ongoing assets reference case filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has “nothing to do with the Panama case”.
Speaking to media here Monday, Aziz hit out at the opponents stating the case against Dar was not even remotely related to Panama Papers case.
“There is no corruption allegation against Ishaq Dar. All of this is false propaganda created to portray it as a case of corruption,” he claimed.
“No corruption allegation has come forward,” he said and inquired the basis of charges against the finance minister.
“It’s not about corruption. Their motivations revolve around something else. That’s why they are hiding behind the Iqama.”
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Monday said that the government is focused on the ‘higher growth of the economy.’
“Our real objective should be higher growth because that only will push the economy in the right direction,” Dar said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad.
The finance minister said that the government is focused on not losing the 6 percent growth target.
“We have monitored, managed, and controlled expenditures to a large extent,” Dar said.
“As far as the economic indicators are concerned, inflation is contained and interest rates are lowest in decades,” he said, adding that the inflation figures at the end of the fiscal year stood at 4.2 percent.
“Foreign exchange reserves are not standing on worrisome levels anymore,” the finance top boss assured. “Our foreign reserves are standing at 14 billion dollars.”
Discussing the energy sector, he said that the result of the [past governments’] ignoring the sector for more than a decade had resulted in a hefty 503 billion rupees circular debt.
“The infrastructure needed investment and the country was faced with a huge challenge in terms of security, which the government addressed effectively,” he said.
“Some countries say that Pakistan is home to sanctuaries of certain terrorist organisations but these claims are completely false,” he said, as he praised the Pakistani armed forces for doing a great job in improving the country’s security situation.
He said that the circular debt has been brought under 400 billion rupees, and load shedding has been reduced to a large extent as compared to the 18-hour outages in the past.
“Even after curtailing the energy deficit and addressing the load shedding problem to a large extent, we have managed to bring down the circular debt,” the minister said.
“The PwC report has forecasted that Pakistan will become the sixteenth largest economy in the world by 2050,” he said, adding that Morgan Stanley gave the country the ’emerging market status,’ and international credit rating agencies upgraded the country’s rating.
He insisted that a lot of hard work needs to be done to take Pakistan head and for that ‘everyone must play their part.’