SC rejects Zardari and Musharraf’s affidavits, seeks 10-year asset details

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday directed former presidents General (r) Pervez Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari and ex-attorney general Malik Qayyum to submit a 10-year record of assets and bank accounts as it rejected the affidavits submitted by the trio.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, while hearing a case pertaining to the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), directed them to disclose before the court the details of assets of their spouses and children both in the country as well as abroad within three weeks.

The NRO was promulgated by Musharraf in 2007 under which the politicians and other individuals were granted an amnesty over corruption and criminal cases against them, thus allowing them to return to Pakistan.

According to a statement submitted Musharraf’s counsel Akhtar Shah, the former military dictator owns one apartment in Downtown Dubai, worth 5.4 million dirhams, and three vehicles: 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. Besides, Musharraf has three foreign bank accounts holding 92,100 dirhams, 21,550 pounds and 268,653 dirhams.

“Ask him to appear before the court and clarify,” remarked the CJP in reference to whether the former president could purchase a flat from his salary during his working days. “My client bought foreign assets after his presidency,” Musharraf’s counsel replied. “Do lecturers get paid this much? May be I should also give lectures after retirement,” the CJP retorted.

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

“Nothing has been hidden from the court,” said Musharraf’s legal counsel said. To which, Justice Nisar observed that Musharraf will not be allowed to hide any relevant information.

ZARDARI TOLD TO SUBMIT DETAILS:

Rejecting the affidavit submitted by the former president, the CJP 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.

When Zardari’s counsel, Farooq Naek, wondered why the bench is seeking more details, the CJP replied: “You [Zardari] are a public office holder and we want to examine your honesty under Article 62 (1) (f) of the constitution.”

“My client served a nine-year sentence and nothing was proven against him,” Zardari’s counsel Farooq Naek informed the court, adding that he should be compensated in light of his long imprisonment.  To which, the chief justice said that the former president could only achieve the reward in the form of clearance by the Supreme Court. The prison sentence did not translate into an exemption from disclosing his assets, the CJP added.

“Did Zardari ever held accounts in his name or his wife Benazir Bhutto or their children’s names for that matter,” the court asked Naek. To which, he responded he will tell the court after consulting Zardari.