Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar (pictured above) was indicted by an anti-corruption court in Islamabad in the Panama Papers case on Wednesday, Dawn reported. The court charged Dar for possessing assets beyond his known sources of income.
The minister, however, called the charges baseless and pleaded not guilty. Dar is believed to have sworn that his assets were accumulated by fair means and said he will prove his innocence, Geo TV reported.
On September 8, Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau, had filed a case of disproportionate assets against Dar. The case was lodged after the Supreme Court, on July 28, disqualified then prime minister Nawaz Sharif as an MP, forcing him to step down as the prime minister.
The Supreme Court had set up a Joint Investigation Team after Sharif was named in the Panama Papers leak in 2016. The leaked documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca had revealed that three of his children – his sons Hassan and Hussain Sharif and his daughter Maryam Sharif – owned offshore companies and undisclosed assets, including four expensive flats in Park Lane, London. The bench had ordered corruption charges against Sharif’s children, his son-in-law Mohammad Safdar and Dar.
After the court indicted Dar on Wednesday, the National Accountability Bureau submitted a list of 28 witnesses who will appear when the hearing begins on October 4, Geo TV reported. A leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Tariq Fazal Chaudhry told reporters that the court had summoned two of the witnesses, both bank officials from Lahore, according to the Dawn report.
On Tuesday, the accountability court granted Sharif conditional exemption from attending the hearings in the Panama Papers case.