Pakistan SC rejects affidavits submitted by ex-presidents Asif Ali Zardari, Pervez Musharraf, seeks assets details of past 10 yrs within 3 weeks

Islamabad: Pakistan's Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the affidavits submitted by former presidents Asif Ali Zardari and Pervez Musharraf regarding their assets and ordered them to submit within three weeks the details of properties and bank accounts owned by them in the past 10 years.

A three-member bench hearing a petition regarding the 2007 National Recon­ciliation Ordinance (NRO), passed by Musharraf in 2007, also directed the two leaders to disclose the details of assets of their spouses and children both in Pakistan as well as abroad, Dawn reported.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar ordered Zardari, Musharraf and former attorney general Malik Mohammad Qayyum to submit complete details of their assets and bank accounts held inside and outside the country in the past 10 years within three weeks, the paper said.

Zardari, 63, served as the 11th President of Pakistan from 2008 to 2013 while Musharraf, 75, took power in 1999 by toppling the government of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif and ruled until 2008 when he was forced to step down.

File image of Pervez Musharraf. AP

File image of Pervez Musharraf. AP

The previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government had filed the treason case against Musharraf over the imposition of extra-constitutional emergency in November 2007.

The case was launched in 2013 and Musharraf was subsequently indicted but he left for Dubai in March 2016 for medical treatment.

During Wednesday's hearing, Zardari's counsel Farooq Naek said the PPP co-chairman had spent nine years in jail but "nothing could be proven" against him. He said Zardari should get some sort of compensation for the nine-year prison sentence.

Chief Justice Nisar responded that Zardari could only achieve the reward in the form of clearance by the apex court and that the prison sentence did not translate into an exemption from disclosing his assets, the paper said.

The court asked Naek whether Zardari ever held bank accounts in his name, or in the names of his wife — slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto — or children, in Switzerland. Naek replied that he would respond to the question after consulting Zardari, according to the paper.

Rejecting the affidavit submitted by the former president, Chief Justice Nisar then ordered Zardari to submit details of all his local and foreign assets since 2007, including whether he owns or is the beneficial owner of any trust, or is the direct or indirect owner or shareholder of any bank account, the paper said.

In his affidavit submitted on Tuesday, Zardari had affirmed that he owns neither moveable or immovable property nor any bank account outside Pakistan.

Musharraf's lawyer Akhtar Shah informed the court that the only property the former ruler owned abroad is an apartment in Downtown Dubai worth 5.4 million dirhams, the paper said.

A statement of assets and liabilities submitted by Musharraf to the court stated that he owns three vehicles, including a 2015 model Mercedes.

He has three foreign bank accounts holding 92,100 dirhams, 21,550 pounds and 268,653 dirhams.

Justice Nisar wondered whether Musharraf could purchase the Dubai flat from "even the salary of his entire life". He said Musharraf should appear before the court in person and explain his assets, the paper reported.

Shah maintained that Musharraf's foreign assets are from his days after stepping down as the president.

Chief Justice Nisar then asked the lawyer whether one could make so much money from giving lectures, which Musharraf is seen occasionally delivering.

"Why don't I start giving lectures after retirement as well?" he wondered, tongue-in-cheek.

The top judge then asked who owned the farmhouse in the Islamabad suburb of Chak Shahzad, to which the counsel responded that it was owned by Musharraf.

The bench then ordered the counsel to submit details of assets held by Musharraf and his wife in Pakistan within three weeks.


Updated Date: Aug 30, 2018 08:01 AM

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