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Pakistan Finance Minister appears before accountability court

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Islamabad, Oct 23 (IANS) Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Monday appeared before an accountability court for the seventh time as his trial resumed in a case filed against him by the anti-graft National Accountability Bureau.

The NAB prosecution has presented two new witnesses against the minister, Dawn news reported.

Abdul Rehman Gondal, the branch manager of a private bank’s parliament branch, provided details to the court of different bank accounts held by Dar in the country.

Gondal, the first witness, was later cross-examined by Dar’s counsel Khawaja Haris.

Masood Ghani, the operations manager in a private bank, will give his testimony later in the day.

The court on October 18 adjourned the hearing of the graft cases till October 23 after Dar’s senior counsel left the country in a rush.

In the preceding hearing of the case, Haris had cross-questioned Al-Baraka Islamic Bank’s Assistant Vice President Tariq Javed – the prosecution’s third witness, Dawn news reported.

The court had indicted Dar last month in a NAB case pertaining to his owning assets beyond his known sources of income.

On July 28, a five-member Supreme Court bench had ordered the NAB to file three cases against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and one against Dar, on petitions filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Imran Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami’s Sirajul Haq and Awami Muslim League’s Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.

In its case against the Finance Minister, the NAB has alleged that “the accused has acquired assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his own name and/or in the name of his dependants of an approximate amount of 831 million Pakistan rupees ($7 million)”.

It was stated that the assets were “disproportionate to his known sources of income for which he could not reasonably account for”.

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