NBP president seeks acquittal in Ishaq Dar assets case

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ISLAMABAD : National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President Saeed Ahmed on Wednesday moved an application in an accountability court seeking acquittal in the assets reference filed against former finance minister Ishaq Dar.

Judge Muhammad Bashir resumed today the hearing of reference filed against the PML-N leader by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The NBP president, who has been nominated as co-accused along with two others in the case, filed the plea, requesting the judge to acquit him for want of evidence. He contended that there is no substantive evidence that indicate his involvement in the offence. He denied that he got bank accounts opened to facilitate the main accused.

During the hearing today, defence lawyer Qazi Misbah cross-examined witness Masood Ghani who is associated with a private bank.

Ahmed’s counsel requested the judge to allow his client to proceed to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah. At this, the judge said how he can do so at this juncture when the trial is ongoing.

NAB prosecutor Imran Shafiq alleged the accused are using delaying tactics to prolong the trial.

Judge also expressed displeasure over the absence of NBP president’s senior counsel Hashmat Habib and asked when he would recover from illness to appear in court. He regretted that the cross-examination of a witness couldn’t be completed in the past four hearings due to his absence.

On Feb 26, the anti-graft watchdog filed a supplementary reference against Ishaq Dar in the assets case with regard to alleged accumulation of assets beyond his known sources of income.

Three co-accused, including Saeed Ahmed, Mansoor Raza and Naeem Mehmood, were also nominated in the reference.

The NBP president had earlier said he came to know in 2016 that as many as seven accounts were being operated in his name. His signatures were faked to open such accounts, he claimed.

A NAB prosecutor argued that millions of rupees were transacted into the foreign currency accounts, which were operated from 1997 to 2006. He expressed surprise how come the NBP President was not in the know about these accounts having been opened in his name.

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