Pakistan receives $500m from AIIB as programme financing: Dar

A NAB court in Islamabad returned the reference filed against Finance Minister Ishaq back to the National Accountability Bureau, saying that further proceedings were not possible after the recent amendments in the related law.

Muhmmad Bashir – the NAB court judge – announced the verdict reserved yesterday after the completion of arguments by both sides. The order read that the court did not have the authority to hear the matter as a result of the amended NAB Ordinance.

As a result, the court could not hear the case and neither pass judgment in the favour of defendant nor the prosecution, it added.

The development came as Dar had filed an application for acquittance in the asset beyond means reference which was filed in 2017. Later, the finance minister decided to leave the country as the proceedings continued in his absence.

During the process, he was also declared an absconder – a status which was withdrawn after he returned to the country and assumed the charge of the finance ministry.

In August, the National Assembly passed the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022, which sought to exclude private transactions from the scope of NAB.

Under the amended law, the pecuniary jurisdiction of NAB had been fixed to only take action against mega scandals. Furthermore, it had been proposed that supplementary references can only be filed with the permission of the court to expedite the proceedings of the court within one year.

Now the investigation officers shall not harass any person during the investigation or inquiry and they will confine their questions relevant to the investigation or inquiry or for extracting evidence.

Following the amendment, accountability courts withdrew 50 major corruption cases against suspects, including cases against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, former chief minister Punjab Hamza Shahbaz, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf, and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani.

The story was filed by the News Desk. The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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