In response to a letter from Interpol, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has reassured the organisation that warrants issued for the arrest of former president Pervez Musharraf are still intact. The response added that he is a proclaimed offender in the assassination case of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
The FIA said in the letter that the warrants were valid perpetual arrest warrants and would remain intact till the execution or surrender of the accused before law in Pakistan. In a letter, Interpol had asked the federal government early last month whether the warrants issued on June 11, 2011 were still valid.
The FIA explained in the letter that Musharraf’s plea that he was politically victimised was baseless as a case of criminal conspiracy to eliminate the former prime minister was pending against him in Pakistan, FIA prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali told The Express Tribune.
On Saturday, an anti-terrorism court case reserved its verdict on two applications asking for the detachment (undo the decision to seize assets) of the residence and charity organisation bank account of Musharraf.
Special Judge ATC-I Shahid Rafique deferred the decision on the applications till May 26 after both the defence lawyers and prosecutors concluded their arguments.
The legal adviser of Habib Metropolitan Bank argued before the court to detach the account containing Rs75 million as the account belonged to the Pervez Musharraf Foundation, a charity organisation. He argued that under criminal procedural laws only personal accounts could be attached after an accused was declared proclaimed offender.
In response, FIA prosecutor Zulfiqar said that under the procedures of the State Bank of Pakistan, personal accounts could not be used for the collection and disbursement of charity money.
He further said the Pervez Musharraf Foundation was registered in London as a welfare trust, and it could not collect money in Pakistan as relevant laws did not allow for this. The prosecutor added that the bank authorities had no legal grounds to challenge the decision as they were not aggrieved by the orders of the ATC.
In the second application, Sehba Musharraf, the wife of the former president, argued that her husband gifted the house in Chak Shahzad to her four years ago and since it was no longer his property, it could not be seized through court orders.
In its reply, the FIA claimed that had there been any gift deed it would have been registered and the house transferred to her name. However, the house is still owned by Musharraf according to documents.
The prosecutor said the accused Musharraf, after being declared a proclaimed offender, could not ask for any relief until he surrendered before the court of law.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2012.