ISLAMABAD - A Division Bench of the Islamabad High Court Tuesday turned down Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar’s petition against his indictment in an illegal assets reference by an accountability court.

The DB of IHC comprising Justice Athar Minallha and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb conducted the petition moved by Ishaq Dar. During the hearing, the IHC’s division bench observed that the applications had become infructuous.

Justice Minallah remarked: “This court has no authority to interfere and look into the legality of procedure of the accountability court.”

Before rejecting the petitions, the bench clarified that the court had jurisdiction to look into any order. However, the petitioner had the right to approach the monitoring judge of the apex court if he had objections over procedure of the court concerned.

In his petition, Federal Finance Minister prayed to the court to set aside the accountability court’s order passed on September 27, and stay the trial until the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) files the final reference in this matter.

Dar moved the court through his counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed Advocate and cited judge Accountability Court (AC) No1 Islamabad and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as respondents.

The petitioner stated that on September 27, he filed an application before the AC judge for postponing the framing of charges on the ground that the said charge should only be framed not earlier than seven date of supply of documents, including investigation report.

He added that after hearing the arguments of the parties, the AC judge dismissed the application on the ground that the law mandates the framing of charges within seven days of supply of documents to the accused and not seven days after the supply of the documents.

The federal minister contended that the said order was passed in breach of Article 4 of the Constitution of Pakistan which inter alia mandates that every citizen should be dealt in accordance with law.

He argued that the framing of charge without observing mandatory provision of law is in breach of principle of fair trial as guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan.

“The petitioner’s right to fair trial is further compromised by the fact that copy of charge sheet has yet not been provided to petitioner while reference is fixed for recording of the evidence of the prosecution on October 4. As such the petitioner is likely to be seriously prejudice firstly on account that he has been deprived of right of raising any objection to framing of charge and secondly on account that statement of prosecution witnesses are going to be recorded without the petitioner having been duly apprises of the contents of the charge to which he has to answer and in the light of which he has to cross-examine the prosecution witnesses,” adopted the minister.

The finance minister further claimed that the accountability court had indicted him without giving him the mandated time to file his response.

He said that the impugned order is illegal and without lawful authority, hence the same is liable to be set-aside.

Therefore, he prayed to the court to accept his petition and set aside the AC’s order dated September 27 and he may be given adequate opportunity to raise objection to the framing of charge and its contents before calling and recording of the prosecution witnesses.

He further requested the court that till final adjudication of the petition, the proceedings before the AC’s judge may be stayed.