Ex-minister Dar’s poll papers illegal: Senate panel
March 08 2018 12:11 AM
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Former finance minister Ishaq Dar.

Internews Islamabad

The standing committee of Pakistani Senate on finance yesterday said that nomination papers for the upper house of parliament by former finance minister Ishaq Dar were illegal as bank officials failed to satisfy the committee about opening of his new account after he had been declared absconder by an
accountability court.
Despite hectic efforts by Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz to forestall a discussion over the bank account, the standing committee, chaired by Senator Saleem Mandviwala, noted that the National Bank of Pakistan opened the absconder’s account.
As discussion progressed over the agenda item related to the bank account recently opened in an NBP branch in Lahore, the committee was briefed about the systems available to restrict absconders from opening bank accounts.
The bank officials explained that options were available with the people living abroad to open their account.
However, they said, absconders could be stopped from opening account in a bank if their names were traced.
Minister of State for Finance Rana Afzal and Senator Farooq supported the bank officials’ explanation and insisted that absconders could open bank accounts.
Then they asked the committee chairman if he knew the name of the person whose bank account had been opened ‘improperly’. Senator Mandviwala said they opened Ishaq Dar’s bank account that he required to file his nomination for contesting the Senate elections after the court ordered seizing of all his bank accounts.
“Either Ishaq Dar is not known to the bankers or the court directives did not reach the National Bank regarding seizure of his existing accounts,” said the chairman of the standing committee on
finance.
After the disclosure of the name, Afzal stopped participating in the discussion. However, Senator Farooq kept telling the finance committee not to discuss the issue. With no further explanation coming from the NBP officials, she said it was a political matter.
Usually banks were reluctant to open accounts of elected representatives and government officers, the committee members noted.
Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah of the PML-Functional told the finance committee that a bank manager refused to open his account as his thumb impression did not match the one needed for biometric
verification.
He said he could not have filed his nomination for the recent Senate elections if the bank had not eventually agreed to open a special account with certain conditions.
The committee noted that several candidates, including Nuzhat Sadiq, had complained about the reluctance of banks to open accounts for them just because they were politicians.
The committee also discussed a complaint lodged by some banks and businesses that the State Bank of Pakistan was allegedly discriminating against them by not granting them permission to restructure their loans.
Senator Mandviwala said: “We have been asking you to give us reasons why restructuring of loans for a few companies have been declared risky by the SBP. But there was no reply.”



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