Court orders seizure of Musharraf’s property

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Saturday ordered seizure of Pervez Musharraf`s property and freezing of his bank accounts while declaring him absconder in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

The order was issued by ATC-III Judge Shahid Raffique after the former president failed to appear before the court despite several reminders. The hearing was held inside Adiala jail.

The court, which has issued permanent arrest warrants for Gen (retd) Musharraf, said the case would be heard separately from those of other seven accused. Lawyers said the Musharraf case would be taken up by the court only after his arrest.

The FIA requested the court to hear the case on a daily basis as the proceedings had already taken three years so far.

The court did not frame charges against the accused as they refused to sign the chargesheets. The accused said their defence counsel Naseer Khan Tanwali and Abdul Rehman were in Aitkaf and in their absence they would not sign any paper.

The court decided to formally indict the seven accused on the next hearing on Sept 10.

CPO Syed Saud Aziz, SP Rawal Town Khurram Shehzad, who got bail in the case, and five other accused Aitzaz Shah, Rafaqat, Hussain Gull, Abdul Rahseed and Sher Zaman were present in the court.

Former prime minister and PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on Dec 27, 2007 outside Liaquat Bagh in a gun-and-bomb attack while leaving the place after addressing a public meeting.

The court had issued permanent warrants for the former military ruler in June for deliberately avoiding the hearing and ordered the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the district administration to provide details of his moveable and immoveable property.

The FIA informed the court that Mr Musharraf`s property included a 10 kanal plot at the Sanghar Housing Society Gwadar in Balochistan, a farm house in Islamabad, agricultural land registered in the name of his wife Sahba Musharraf in Kotha Kalan near Soan River, Rs80 million in 15 banks accounts, according to details provided by the State Bank.

Fawad Chaudhry, a spokesman for the former president`s All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), rejected the verdict as politically motivated and said the case against Mr Musharraf had been lodged to divert people`s attention from the deteriorating law and order situation in the country.

“The FIA produced fabricated the list of Musharraf`s property. Former president has nothing to do with this property and bank accounts worth Rs80 million,” he said.

He suggested that the government should distribute the amount (Rs80 million) among the flood-affected people.

Mr Chaudhry claimed that the court proceedings were illegal as the ATC had relied on a `fake` list of the property supplied by the FIA. He said the APML had no faith in the present judiciary. “We expect no justice from the existing judiciary which has a strong bias against our leader. We will respond to such bias in the people`s court.”

After the court proceedings, accused Rasheed was decorated with a medal for securing third position in the SSC annual examination.

Rasheed, son of Qudrat Shah, secured 848 marks out of 1050. Rasheed, a resident of village Srikh Morzai, Batagram, was a student of Madressah Darul Uloom Haqqania, Akora Khattak.

Source: Dawn