Have reconciled all accounts, answered questions adequately: Ishaq Dar after JIT appearance

This was the finance minister's first appearance before the high-profile probe team

Azaz Syed

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, addressing the media after recording his statement with the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on Monday, said he had reconciled all accounts and had answered all questions posed to him in an adequate manner. 

"I have reconciled all accounts in front of the JIT and answered all their questions in an adequate manner," said the finance minister.  

The finance minister spent around an hour in front of the high-profile probe team. 

Dar also clarified that he had not received multiple summons from the JIT and had received his first summon on June 28.

The finance minister termed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairperson Imran Khan as a liar and asked him to present himself for accountability. 

"How much will you lie?" asked Dar, addressing Khan. "You should be ashamed of conducting politics on the basis of lies."

Dar also questioned how Khan had become the second richest parliamentarian. "How has he become the second richest parliamentarian? He is not the son of an industrialist like Nawaz Sharif."

The finance minister further said all records are transparent and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's name has never been a part of the Panama Papers. 

Dar claimed that a concentrated effort has been ongoing for the last 23 years, with the objective making the legitimate business interests of the Sharif family controversial. 

"This is a conspiracy against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his government."

The finance minister also claimed that there is not a single rupee of irregularity in the accounts of the family.

He added that 13 judges of the Supreme Court had termed the cases as registered and pursued under 'unholy haste'.

'Maryam is the daughter of the nation'

Dar, referring to the premier's daughter, said that not only is she the daughter of the prime minister, she is also the daughter of the nation. 

He said Maryam's name is not included and the Supreme Court had also not mentioned her name in the Panama Papers case. 

"She will appear before the JIT as the family has nothing to hide and will give answers to all questions," said Dar.

PTI leaders lambast Dar after JIT appearance

The PTI leaders held a press conference at Lahore, following Ishaq Dar’s media talk after his JIT appearance today.

PTI leader Shafqat Mahmood criticised Finance Minister Dar, saying that the PTI didn’t release Panama Papers. Imran Khan and the entire nation are plaintiffs in the ongoing investigation of the Panama scandal, he said.

He further said that Nawaz has not been held accountable up to date, adding that now is the right time for it.

"The state institutions are investigating Dar," said the PTI leader.

The PTI leader said that Nawaz carried out money laundering with the aid of Ishaq Dar.

Mahmood said that the PTI is ready for accountability.

Dar’s confessional statement has every detail, said Mahmood, adding that the Qatari prince is not ready for cross-questioning.

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry also spoke at the press conference, saying that Ishaq Dar’s statement wasn’t that of a normal person. He alleged that Dar’s children in Dubai own towers worth billions of rupees. 

Earlier, Dar was driven to the Federal Judicial Academy by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and was accompanied by Barrister Zafarullah Khan and ministers Anusha Rehman and Zahid Hamid in another vehicle. 

Sources said that the finance minister held a meeting with the prime minister earlier in the day with regards to his appearance before the JIT.

Prior to Dar's arrival, the JIT questioned the prime minister's younger son, Hasan Nawaz, for around three hours. 

Dar's summoning was reported in the media late Sunday night, while Hasan's summons had been issued last week. 

Sources privy to the development informed that Dar on Sunday received copies of his financial record from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

Sources said the financial record of the finance minister from the years 2003-06 is missing from the FBR record.

This is reportedly the third summons issued by the JIT to Dar as earlier, the finance minister did not appear before the investigation team on grounds of a busy schedule.

Dar on Sunday also prepped with FBR officials the potential questions which could be asked by the JIT officials.

A spokesperson of the Finance Ministry confirmed that the summons notice issued on June 28 was received at the minister`s office on Sunday. He also claimed that the minister did not receive any summons before. 

Hudaibiya Paper Mills

On Thursday, the JIT recorded the statement of founding chief of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Lt Gen (retd) Syed Amjad. 

It was while Lt Gen (retd) Amjad was the NAB chairman that Dar, on April 25, 2000, recorded a confession in front of a magistrate in Lahore confessing to laundering money for the benefit of Nawaz Sharif and others. 

On the basis of that confession, a reference was filed by the NAB before an accountability court against the Hudabiya Paper Mills, three Sharif brothers, Dar and others.

That reference was struck down by the Lahore High Court in March 11, 2014 in response to a writ petition filed in 2011. Dar had claimed that he he had made the 'confession' in duress and disowned the statement.