ISLAMABAD: After a gap of seven months, the special court, which was trying the high treason case against former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf, will resume its proceedings and will also take up the application of the former first lady Sehba Musharraf against the confiscation of her properties.
The special court had in July last year declared Mr Musharraf, who is soon going to host a show on a private television channel, an absconder and ordered for the confiscation of his movable and immovable properties.
According to the details of Mr Musharraf’s properties, which were submitted by the interior ministry to the special court, the former military dictator owns seven immovable properties and nine bank accounts.
The immovable properties include plots in the Army Housing Scheme Karachi, Khayaban-i-Faisal DHA Karachi, Beach Street DHA Karachi, DHA Islamabad and DHA Lahore. He also owns a farmhouse in Chak Shahzad and agricultural property in Bahawalpur.
Sehba Musharraf requests court not to confiscate her property
Mr Musharraf also has bank accounts in Bank Alfalah, Askari Bank, Habib Metropolitan Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and the National Bank of Pakistan.
His wife Sehba Musharraf has now filed an application through her counsel Faisal Hussein against the confiscation of the Chak Shahzad farmhouse and the plots in DHA, Islamabad and Karachi.
In her application, Sehba Musharraf claims that her husband had on March 12, 2008 gifted her the Chak Shahzad farmhouse.
In 2011, an Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) of Rawalpindi had ordered the attachment of the former president’s properties and Ms Musharraf had filed a petition before the Islamabad High Court against the ATC’s order. The suit was later transferred to the Court of Civil Judge Islamabad who disposed of the said suit on Oct 10, 2013, accepting the Ms Musharraf’s ownership of the said property, the application says.
It says that the plot in DHA Phase VIII Khayaban-i-Faisal in Karachi was jointly owned by Mr Musharraf and Sehba Musharraf’s deceased sister Huma Khaishgi and vide declaration of oral gift dated March 13, 2009, the former president had gifted his share of the plot to his wife and daughter Ayla Raza.
The application says that the plots in Sector F of DHA Phase II Islamabad and Beach Street Phase VIII DHA Karachi have also been gifted to Sehba Musharraf and Ayla Raza.
The plot in Army Housing Scheme Part II Clifton, Karachi has already been transferred and mutates in the name of Ayla Raza, the application says.
It points out that the list of movable properties mentions a bank account in which Mr Musharraf receives his pension as retired chief of army staff and ex president of Pakistan. It says that according to section 11 of the Pensions Act 1871, pension is not liable to be seized or attached by any process or order of the court.
According to Ms Musharraf’s application, the pension account is the “source of bread and butter of not only Gen Musharraf but also his wife Mrs Sehba Musharraf”.
The petition argues that Mr Musharraf is above the age of 60 and that none of his properties, movable or immovable, are liable to be attached or sold since his legal heirs, particularly his daughter Ayla Raza and son Bilal Musharraf, derive a right in legitimate expectancy to inherit his properties.
This right of inheritance is found in Quranic laws, which cannot be defeated by any provision made in the Anglo Saxon laws such as the Criminal Procedure Code.
The age of superannuation is 60 in Pakistan hence the right of legal heirs to inherit the property of anyone above the age of superannuation is not far-fetched, the petition says.
Another account, according to the application, is that of the Pervez Musharraf Trust registered in the UK and is an entity in law which is separate from the individual and cannot be seized.
In the application, the court was assured that Mr Musharraf will be back in Pakistan after receiving medical treatment and that he therefore may not be treated as an absconder and the entire proceedings against him in this regard may kindly be recalled.
Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2017