‘Is Ishaq Dar guilty of money laundering?’


Justice Asif Saeed Khosa-led five-member bench of the Supreme Court has ordered National Accountability Bureau to furnish Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s confession statement given to a magistrate back in April 2000 in which he had admitted to launder 14 million dollars for Sharif family.

Shahid Hamid argued on Friday before the bench on behalf of respondent number 10, Ishaq Dar, about allegations levelled by petitioners pertaining to his ‘confessional statement’ under Section 164 of Criminal Procedure Code back in April 2000. Mr Dar had admitted his role in laundering money exceeding 14 million dollars and opening bank accounts under false names. ‘That admission statement is nothing more than a piece of paper,’ he contended.

‘It is not a piece of paper, it is part of evidence upon which no action has been taken,’ remarked Justice Khosa.

Justice Khosa further added that the High Court disposed of the case on ‘technical basis’ back in 1997. Mr Hamid argued that the NAB reference carried the same allegations that FIA levelled in their case. Justice Khosa also observed that the intra-court appeal was heard by two judges of High Court which is usually heard by five judges.

Mr Hamid sought refuge in an age old procedural defence called ‘double jeopardy’ by quoting Protection of Economic Reforms Act 1992. The law bars courts to hear a case when the accused has already been acquitted. He also said that the finance minister held no position when the position the law was passed.

Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan remarked that Chairman NAB should have filed an appeal in Supreme Court as only then they could’ve taken action on it and ordered an inquiry. ‘There is no connection between the FIR filed in 1994 and 2000 against Sharif family,’ he remarked, adding that admission statement of Ishaq Dar has no connection with alleged financial crimes of the Sharifs.

Justice Khosa ordered NAB prosecutor general to come to the court and assist it along with the record of Hudabiya Paper Mills reference.

Mr Hamid, counsel of Maryam Nawaz, Capt Sardar and Ishaq Dar, was inundated in the court with piercing queries from the bench in general and Justice Khosa in particular who asked him if a case can be disposed of without investigating the accused. Mr Hamid said that at that time all of the accused except Hamza Sharif were abroad. ‘If someone is not included in investigation, should the issue of 12 billion be disposed of?’ asked Justice Khosa.

Justice Khosa also questioned whether at the time of confession he was acquitted or whether the acquittal was conditional or unconditional. Mr Hamid said that Dar was acquitted of the crime but he was imprisoned when the statement was recorded.

Justice Khosa remarked that an innocent person would fight his case and not accept acquittal.

Makhdoom Ali Khan, counsel of PM Nawaz Sharif, asked more time, till Monday, to submit record pertaining to the distribution of inheritance of late Mian Sharif.

Advocate Shahid Hamid was expected to complete his arguments on Friday but due to a barrage of questions on Mr Dar’s confession, he’ll continue his arguments on Monday.

The hearing has been adjourned till Monday.