Interpol refuses to issue red warrant against Musharraf, SC summons 10-year record details of assets, bank accounts

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ISLAMABAD: A special court on Wednesday resumed hearing the high treason case against retired Gen Pervez Musharraf and sought assistance in proceeding with the case if the former military dictator continues to abscond.

Secretary Interior Yousaf Naseem Khokhar, present for the hearing, told the two-member bench led by Justice Yawer Ali that a letter had been written to Interpol for Musharraf’s repatriation, but Interpol officials had refused to issue a red warrant, saying that Interpol does not deal in political cases.”How can the court decide the case if Musharraf avoids turning up on the next hearing?” Justice Ali asked.

He asked authorities to inform the court on the next hearing if they can record Musharraf’s statement via video conference or if the case can be pursued without recording a statement.

The court also directed the interior secretary to submit a copy of the letter it wrote to Interpol.

The next hearing of the case has been deferred to Sep 10.

Prosecutor recuses himself

During the hearing, prosecutor Akram Shaikh submitted an application to the court saying he wanted to detach himself from the case.  He also contended that the new government should decide whether to continue with the case or not.

He added that Musharraf’s counsel had become a part of the government and the interior ministry would have to decide the future course of action pertinent to the case.

The court granted his plea. Shaikh had been pursuing the case for the last five years.

He had in the past repeatedly requested the special court to conclude the trial and issue a verdict in the absence of Gen Musharraf.

Sheikh had submitted his resignation to the interior ministry after the election, saying: “If the PTI wants to continue with the case, it can engage a lawyer to proceed with the case.”

He had ruled out the possibility that the government would withdraw the treason case against Gen Musharraf. “It would be tantamount to aiding and abetting an accused person,” he had said.

Background

The special court had indicted Gen Musharraf for high treason in March 2014. The prosecution had laid its evidence before the court by September the same year.

However, the special court could not proceed against the former dictator as the IHC had issued a stay order and Gen Musharraf subsequently left the country after the superior courts removed his name from the Exit Control List.

The special court had later declared the accused a proclaimed offender and ordered the confiscation of his properties. However, its order could not be executed due to the matter pending litigation in various courts.

The special court had earlier this year resumed its proceedings in the treason case and ordered that Gen Musharraf’s computerised national identity card (CNIC) and passport be blocked. The outgoing PML-N government had in May executed the court order and blocked the absconder’s CNIC and passport.

10-year record

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered for the 10-year record details of the assets and foreign and local bank accounts owned by former presidents Pervez Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari after rejecting affidavit of PPP co-chairman.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the case related to National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), passed by Musharraf in 2007.

As the hearing went underway, the bench sought details of assets owned by Musharraf in Pakistan. The former military ruler’s counsel in response said, “Nothing has been hidden from the court.” In response to Musharraf’s counsel, the chief justice remarked that the court won’t allow him to conceal any information.

“Musharraf should also submit asset details of his wife within 10 days,” Justice Nisar said.

The Musharraf’s counsel informed the bench, “my client has 92,000 Dirhams in one bank account and he owns three cars, including a Jeep and a Mercedes.”

Justice Nisar then questioned if Musharraf could buy a flat from the salary he drew during his working days. “Ask him to appear before the court and clarify it,” the chief justice said.

“My client bought foreign assets after his presidency Musharraf’s counsel told the court. To this, the chief justice questioned, “Do lecturers get paid this much? Maybe I should also give lectures after retirement.”