ISLAMABAD: A prosecution witness testified before an accountability court on Thursday that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had invested Rs 120 million in 2015 in the National Investment Trust (NIT), but withdrew the amount after the Supreme Court started hearing the Panama Papers case in January 2017. In presence of Ishaq Dar, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) produced before accountability court judge Muhammad Bashir two witnesses – Al-Baraka Bank Senior Vice President Tariq Javed and Shahid Aziz, an officer of the NIT, who testified against Dar.In his testimony, Shahid Aziz stated that Ishaq Dar, being a finance minister, had invested Rs 120 million in the NIT in 2015; however, he withdrew the amount after the Panama Papers case started in January 2017. To a court query, he stated that the NIT was the first asset management company of Pakistan, which was registered in 1962. In his testimony, the second witness, Tariq Javed, stated that Ishaq Dar had opened an account in the Lahore branch of the bank in 1991. He also submitted details of Dar’s five accounts, belonging to two of his companies and his wife. He stated that Dar’s wife Tabassum Ishaq Dar also held an account in the bank and owned a company named HDS Securities Private Limited. He also presented details of Tabassum’s companies – Hajveri Modarba and Hajveri Holdings. The legal team of Ishaq Dar led by his senior counsel Khawaja Haris also conducted the cross-examination of the witnesses and the documents presented before the court. Khawaja Haris objected to the veracity and legitimacy of the documents submitted by the prosecution witnesses, contending that if the court wanted to continue proceedings in this manner then the case would be wrapped up in a few days, instead of six months. He rejected the claim of the witnesses that the documents submitted by them were genuine and attested. He also argued that the electronic statements could not be taken as primary evidence and requested the court to make his objection part of the court record. NAB’s special prosecutor Imran Shafiq, however, stated that it was the sole discretion of the court to decide what was primary evidence. He stated that any unverified or missing documents could be verified and submitted later on. The hearing continued for eight hours and was later adjourned until October 16. Published in Daily Times, October 13th 2017.