ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a 10-year record of the assets and foreign and local bank accounts owned by former presidents Pervez Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the case related to National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), passed by Musharraf in 2007.
The counsels of Zardari and Musharraf appeared before the top court.
As the hearing went under way, the bench sought details of assets owned by Musharraf in Pakistan. The former military ruler’s counsel in response said, “Nothing has been hidden from the court.”
Court won’t allow you to conceal any information: CJP
In response to Musharraf’s counsel, the chief justice remarked that the court won’t allow him to conceal any information.
“Musharraf should also submit asset details of his wife within 10 days,” Justice Nisar said.
“I’ve heard that Musharraf received gifts from Saudi Arabia,” he added.
The former military ruler’s counsel informed the bench, “My client has 92,000 Dirhams in one bank account and he owns three cars, including a Jeep and a Mercedes.”
Justice Nisar then questioned if Musharraf could buy a flat from the salary he drew during his working days. “Ask him to appear before the court and clarify,” the chief justice said.
Musharraf’s counsel, however, said, “My client bought foreign assets after his presidency.”
To this, the chief justice questioned, “Do lecturers get paid this much? May be I should also give lectures after retirement.”
Court expresses lack of confidence in Zardari’s affidavit
Further, the court expressed a lack of confidence in the affidavit submitted by former president Zardari and sought his asset details from 2007 onwards.
Zardari’s counsel Farooq Naik told the court, “My client served a nine-year sentence and nothing was proven against him.”
Justice Nisar then questioned the former president’s counsel, “Did Zardari have an account in Switzerland? Or was the account in former prime minister Benazir Bhutto or their children’s names?”
The chief justice further asked that Zardari in his affidavit state whether he formed a trust or not.
The court then ordered that a 10-year record of Zardari and Musharraf’s assets and foreign and local bank accounts be submitted.
The bench directed that the former presidents submit detailed affidavits within 15 days.
During the hearing a day earlier, Zardari submitted an affidavit before the Supreme Court stating that he does not own any property abroad.
The NRO granted amnesty to politicians and other individuals by quashing various corruption and criminal cases against them so they could return to the country and engage in the democratic process.
In previous hearings, the chief justice had ordered Musharraf and Zardari and former attorney general Justice (retd) Malik Qayyum to submit the details of their foreign bank accounts.
Nominating Musharraf, Zardari and Qayyum as respondents, petitioner Feroz Shah Gilani had requested the court in April to order recovery of ‘huge amounts of public money’ misappropriated and wasted by them through unlawful means ‘already on record in different judgments of the Supreme Court and high court’.
He had contended that Musharraf subverted the Constitution by declaring emergency followed by the promulgation of the NRO, through which criminal and corruption cases against politicians, including Zardari, were “arbitrarily withdrawn”.