ISLAMABAD: It would appear that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is virtually penniless. After an accountability court froze all of his accounts and investment, he has been unable to pay his lawyers’ fees.
Sources told The Express Tribune that Dar had not paid fees to his lawyers since the start of the Panama Papers case. He did not even pay fees to the lawyer who drafted his review petition against the July 28 SC verdict.
“The lawyer was expecting a Rs1 million fee, and when Dar only sent Rs100,000, the lawyer refused to take the money,” a member of the Sharif family’s legal team confirmed.
Meanwhile, Lawyer Khawaja Haris has asked Dar to engage a new counsel, claiming he is busy with other cases. It is still unclear if Haris will represent him in the future. On Thursday, Harris did not appear before the accountability court. Ayesha Hameed argued Dar’s case. The court will resume hearing his case on Monday.
The accountability court on October 18 froze all of Dar’s assets inside and outside Pakistan. Some lawyers believe that the freezing of his assets could be among the reasons Dar has not been able to pay his fees.
A senior PML-N lawyer has also admitted that lawyers are reluctant to plead Dar’s case. Since the start of the Panama Papers case, a number of lawyers have represented him at different forums.
On the other hand, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawyers threw shade at Dar for muddying the Sharif family’s position in the Panama Papers trial. Shahid Hamid had appeared on his behalf during that trial.
According to the PML-N’s initial legal strategy, Dar had to engage an independent counsel in the case because of the conflict of interest. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had requested the Supreme Court to disqualify Dar on charges of money laundering.
Later, on Dar’s request, Hamid took up his case along with two other respondents – Maryam Nawaz and her husband Muhammad Safdar. But Hamid’s arguments on January 27 did not impress PML-N leaders. They believe that after Hamid presented Dar’s case, the issue snowballed and the Supreme Court asked the National Accountability Bureau to submit details of the 17-year-old Hudabiya Paper Mills case against the Sharifs.
Meanwhile, the Sharif family’s legal team has continued expanding in numbers, with Azam Nazeer Tarar being the most recent addition. Tarar was most recently engaged by deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to argue a case before the Islamabad High Court, where he successfully got his client some relief on Thursday.
Sources said a few more lawyers may yet be engaged to argue the family’s case before different courts as Khawaja Haris is also working on several cases for other clients.