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ISLAMABAD: The special court seized with the high treason case on Friday warned the administrators of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Lahore and Karachi to provide documentary evidence of properties owned by former military dictator retired Gen Pervez Musharraf or face the court.

The special court passed these directions after Joint Secretary Ministry of Interior Naila Zafar expressed inability to confiscate the properties of Mr Musharraf located in the DHA Lahore and Karachi.

She said the DHA authorities did not provide the ministry the required information and asked it to contact the General Headquarters (GHQ).

But the GHQ did not respond to letters sent to it in this regard, she added.

Though the ministry submitted a report to the court about Mr Musharraf’s properties, it said it was facing difficulty in implementing the court order passed on July 19, 2016, when Mr Musharraf was declared a proclaimed offender/absconder and perpetual warrants for his arrest were issued. Later, proceedings to confiscate his properties were initiated.

Direction passed after interior ministry informed court that DHA Lahore and Karachi did not provide documents about the properties

The court termed the interior ministry’s report “incomplete” and directed the ministry to get the required information and implement the order by July 18.

“In case the DHA Lahore and Karachi failed to submit the requisite information to the ministry of interior, we direct the administrators/directors general of DHA Lahore and Karachi to appear in person along with the record of properties mentioned in the interior ministry’s report.”

According to the details submitted to the special court by the ministry, the former military ruler owns seven immovable properties and nine bank accounts.

The immovable properties included plots in the Army Housing Scheme Karachi, Khayaban-i-Faisal DHA Karachi, Beach Street DHA Karachi and DHA Lahore. He also owns a farmhouse in Chak Shahzad and an agricultural property in Bahawalpur.

The court also took up an application filed by the spouse of Mr Musharraf against the confiscation of the properties.

Sehba Musharraf filed the application through her counsel Faisal Hussain against the confiscation of the Chak Shahzad farmhouse and plots in the DHA Lahore and Karachi.

Ms Musharraf claimed that her husband had on March 12, 2008, gifted the Chak Shahzad farmhouse to her.

In 2011, an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Rawalpindi had ordered the attachment of the former president’s properties and Ms Musharraf filed a petition with the Islamabad High Court against the order. The suit was later transferred to the court of civil judge Islamabad who disposed of the suit on Oct 10, 2013, accepting Ms Musharraf’s ownership of the property, the application added.

It said the plot in DHA Phase VIII Khayaban-i-Faisal Karachi was jointly owned by Mr Musharraf and his deceased sister Huma Khaishgi and on March 13, 2009, the former president had gifted his share of the plot to his wife and daughter Ayla Raza.

The application said the plots in Sector F DHA Phase II Islamabad and Beach Street Phase VIII DHA Karachi had also been gifted to Ms Musharraf and Ms Raza.

The plot in the Army Housing Scheme Part II Clifton, Karachi, has already been transferred and mutated in the name of Ms Raza, the application said.

The head of the prosecution, Mohammad Akram Sheikh, however, argued that Mr Musharraf was the sole owner of the properties.

He said as per the assets details the former military ruler provided to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in 2013, he was the sole owner of these properties. He said Ms Musharraf’s claim regarding the ownership of the properties since 2008 was incorrect.

The court also took up an application filed by M Musharraf seeking military’s security and a safe passage back to Dubai. Advocate Sheikh said an absconder cannot dictate terms of his security. However, the government would provide him the security protocol as entitled to a former president and ex-chief of army staff.

The court adjourned the hearing of the case to July 18.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2017