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Plea to de-freeze Musharraf’s account dismissed

July 25, 2012

RAWALPINDI, July 25: An application filed by Habib Bank for de-freezing the attached accounts of former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf was dismissed by an anti-terrorism court here on Wednesday.

The court said that HBL was not an aggrieved party and it could not file an application on behalf of Gen (retd) Musharraf who was a fugitive.

ATC Judge Chaudhry Habibur Rehman noted that, according to directives issued by the State Bank, a scheduled bank could not open a trust account operated by an individual.

The court had attached the accounts and other moveable and immovable assets of Gen Musharraf in August after he was declared a proclaimed offender for his repeated absence in the Benazir Bhutto murder case in which he is an accused.

According to a report submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), his assets included a 1,000 square yards plot in Sanghar Housing Society, Gwadar, a farmhouse in Islamabad, agricultural land registered in the name of his wife Sahba Musharraf in Kotha Kalan, near Soan River, and Rs120 million in 15 banks accounts.

The court had issued permanent warrants for Gen Musharraf’s arrest in June last year for deliberately avoiding the hearing and ordered the FIA and the district administration to provide details of his property.

FIA Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali told the court on Wednesday that SBP directives barred the attachment of a bank account of a trust registered in Pakistan, but the accused had registered his foundation in the United Kingdom and opened an account of the ‘Pervez Musharraf Foundation’ at the HBL corporate office in the federal capital.

He said Gen Musharraf had never tried to get his foundation registered in Pakistan and, therefore, the account, being his personal account, had been rightly seized under the court’s order.

The prosecutor said courts had issued warrants for Mr Musharraf and then declared him proclaimed offender and being a fugitive, he could not seek any relief unless he surrendered before a court.

He said the HBL management without being an aggrieved party wanted the account of a fugitive to be de-frozen.

He said there were SBP instructions that no person could open an account of any welfare trust in his own name.

The prosecutor said the ATC could not review its own order of attachment of the account and the bank management should file an appeal in a high court.