SC re­jects af­fi­davits sub­mit­ted by Zar­dari and Mushar­raf, seeks as­sets de­tails of past 10 years

The Miracle - - PAKISTAN -

The Supreme Court on Wed­nes­day re­jected the af­fi­davits sub­mit­ted by former pres­i­dents Asif Ali Zar­dari and re­tired Gen Pervez Mushar­raf, and ex-at­tor­ney gen­eral Ma­lik Mo­ham­mad Qayyum re­gard­ing as­sets owned by them in Pak­istan and abroad. While hear­ing a pe­ti­tion re­gard­ing the 2007 Na­tional Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Or­di­nance (NRO), a three-mem­ber bench headed by Chief Jus­tice of Pak­istan (CJP) Saqib Nisar or­dered the three men 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 trio has also been di­rected to dis­close be­fore the court the de­tails of as­sets of their spouses and chil­dren both in the coun­try as well as abroad. Noth­ing could be proven against Zar­dari: lawyer The coun­sel rep­re­sent­ing Zar­dari, Fa­rooq H. Naek, ar­gued be­fore the bench to­day that 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. At this, the CJP re­sponded that Zar­dari could only achieve the re­ward in the form of clear­ance by the Supreme Court and that the prison sen­tence did not trans­late into an ex­emp­tion from dis­clos­ing his as­sets. Jus­tice Ijazul Ah­san re­marked that po­lit­i­cal lead­ers should get the “blem­ishes on [their rep­u­ta­tion] re­moved”. The bench asked the coun­sel 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. Re­ject­ing the af­fi­davit sub­mit­ted by the former pres­i­dent, the CJP 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 In his af­fi­davit sub­mit­ted on Tues­day, Zar­dari had af­firmed that he owns nei­ther move­able or im­mov­able prop­erty nor any bank ac­count out­side Pak­istan. The af­fi­davit was moved be­fore the apex court which is hear­ing a pe­ti­tion of Ad­vo­cate Feroz Shah Gi­lani, pres­i­dent of the Lawyers Foun­da­tion for Jus­tice, in which he had named Mushar­raf, Zar­dari, Qayyum and the Na­tional Ac­count­abil­ity Bureau (NAB) as re­spon­dents. In his pe­ti­tion, Gi­lani had pleaded be­fore the court to or­der re­cov­ery of huge amounts of pub­lic money wasted by the re­spon­dents through un­law­ful means against the back­drop of the NRO in 2007. Mushar­raf owns apart­ment in Dubai, 3 cars In his ar­gu­ments, the lawyer rep­re­sent­ing Mushar­raf, Akhtar Shah, in­formed the court about the as­sets held by the former mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor.A state­ment of as­sets and li­a­bil­i­ties sub­mit­ted by Mushar­raf to the court stated that the only prop­erty he owned abroad is an apart­ment in Down­town Dubai worth 5.4 mil­lion dirhams. Ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ment, Mushar­raf owns three ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing a 2015 model Mercedes worth 230,000 dirhams, a Tahoe Jeep 2017 model worth 150,000 dirhams and a Chevro­let Im­pala 2018 worth 130,000 dirhams. He has three for­eign bank ac­counts hold­ing 92,100 dirhams, 21,550 pounds and 268,653 dirhams. Jus­tice Nisar, who was un­con­vinced by the de­tails pro­vided, 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. Shah main­tained that Mushar­raf ’s for­eign as­sets are from his days af­ter stepping down as the pres­i­dent. The CJP 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.

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