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Dar’s confession can be used against PM: SC

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ISLAMABAD: As the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Prosecutor General submitted details in the Supreme Court regarding the confessional statement of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, a member of the larger bench hearing the Panamagate case, observed that Dar’s confessional statement could be used against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as circumstantial evidence.

Submitting details in the Supreme Court, NAB on Monday stated that the minister was a prosecution witness in the Rs 1.2 billion Hudaibiya Papers Mills reference against the Sharif family. The details included a handwritten application by the Finance Minister to the NAB chairman seeking pardon and his confessional statement dated April 25, 2000. In the statement, the now Finance Minister confessed to his involvement laundering money for the Sharif family and stated that his statement was voluntarily and without any pressure.

NAB Prosecutor General Waqas Kadeer Dar, appearing before a five-judge larger bench in the Panamagate case, informed the top court that the Finance Minister was granted pardon on April 21, 2000 after the confessional statement.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, heading the larger bench, inquired as to why the NAB had not appealed in the top court against a Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict of 2014 quashing the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case against the Sharifs.

To this, Waqas said the decision of not filing an appeal against the LHC was made “unanimously”. The bench, however, ordered the prosecutor general to submit the minutes of the meeting wherein the decision was made, along with the entire record of the reference. “We want to see who decided not to appeal,” said Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed. The bench also directed the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan to submit its reply as to why it had not done anything.

Justice Khosa said that no justification over the money coming from the Dubai factory had been presented in the court.

He remarked that the Premier had discussed having a “plethora of evidence”, but no one was telling the court about the source of 12 million dirhams.

Meanwhile, Shahid Hamid, counsel for Ishaq Dar, argued that his client could not be disqualified on the allegations of money laundering, as the case against him had been quashed by a referee judge of the LHC and had become time-barred.

He further contended that his client had made the confessional statement under duress. “But none of the merits in this case had been taken into consideration,” observed Justice Gulzar Ahmed, while

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