Dar terms JIT report ‘false’ , challenges

Finance minister Ishaq Dar, in a review petition filed in the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday, challenged the court’s verdict on the Panama Papers case, claiming that a reference against him cannot be filed based on a “spurious JIT  report”.

Dar has filed the petition just one day before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) summoned him to appear before investigators for a probe into his assets and funds.

According to the petition filed, the ruling passed by the SC on April 20 did not give the JIT any grounds to investigate the petitioner’s (Dar) assets. He claims that the investigation team “self-evidently exceeded its mandate by opining on whether or not the petitioner’s assets were disproportionate to his known income”.

In the petition, Dar admits that his assets did increase between the years 2008-09, however he insisted that the rise was due to six years of foreign income. He also states that the record of the income was presented to the JIT.

Dar insists that while his assets did increase from Rs9mn to Rs831mn during 1993 to 2009, “it is a moot point whether a period of 16 years can be considered a short period of time” to assess the growth in his wealth. He adds that the court had failed to take into account that the worth of the petitioner’s assets had reduced by Rs544mn in the next seven years, including the time when he was finance minister.

In the petition, Dar also pointed out that he had submitted the records of his wealth and income statements from 1983-2016 which were accepted by tax authorities.

Raising objections over the damning SC ruling on the Panama Papers case, he asked how five judges could pass a verdict on the case when only three oversaw the JIT’s proceedings.

He also claimed that it would be a violation of his basic rights if references against him were filed without taking his reservations into account.

Dar also raised objections over the appointment of a monitoring judge to oversee the proceedings of references filed in the National Accountability Bureau, saying that it makes the SC an unofficial petitioner and will affect the proceedings of the case.

He claimed that both, the July 28 verdict and the appointment of a monitoring judge, are a violation of Articles 175 and 203.

The SC had ordered NAB to open references against Dar and former premier Nawaz Sharif’s family in its verdict on Panama Papers case.

On August 15, Sharif too had filed three separate petitions in the SC to review and stay further implementation of the Panamagate verdict.