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Court orders freezing of Musharraf’s accounts in treason case

Pervez-Musharraf

Peshawar: A special court hearing treason charges against former Pakistani dictator General Pervez Musharraf today ordered the freezing of the ‘proclaimed offender’s’ bank accounts and confiscate his property for not appearing before it despite repeated notices.

A three-member bench of the special court headed by Chief Justice Peshawar High Court Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel passed the orders over the non-appearance of the former president before the court despite repeated notices.

The court also adjourned the hearing of the case until Musharraf, 72, is arrested or he surrenders.

Justice Miankhel remarked that the court cannot initiate further proceedings in the absence of the accused.

“According to law, the accused cannot be trialed in absentia,” Dawn quoted him as saying.

If found guilty in the high treason case, Musharraf could face death sentence.

He said the attitude of the accused left no option for the court, and the special court ordered authorities to freeze Musharraf’s bank accounts and confiscate his property.

“A compliance report of the orders must be submitted with the court,” the court ordered.

Musharraf this month flew to Dubai for purported medical treatment after the Supreme Court lifted the ban on his foreign trips and it is believed that he may never return to face a slew of several high-profile cases against him.

The Interior Ministry also submitted a report related to the ex-president’s assets to the court, Geo TV reported.

Musharraf’s counsel said that his client is ailing and currently abroad for treatment.

The counsel’s request to record his client’s statement via Skype was turned down by the bench.

Musharraf left Pakistan on March 18, soon after the Supreme Court upheld the Sindh High Court directions to remove his name from the exit control list (ECL).

The court in one of its previous rulings had declared ex- president Musharraf a ‘proclaimed offender’.

In March 2014, Musharraf was formally indicted over treason charges for imposing emergency and the Provisional Constitutional Order on November 3, 2007.

Earlier, the court also seized the surety bonds submitted by Musharraf’s guarantor, Rashid Qureshi, and ordered him to submit a sum of Rs 2.5 million as security deposit to the Registrar of the special court.

Musharraf came to power in a bloodless coup in 1999, deposing then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Facing impeachment following elections in 2008, he resigned as president and went into self-imposed exile in Dubai.

He returned in 2013 to contest elections but was implicated in several high-profile cases and was not allowed to leave the country. He is facing trial in illegal detention of judges, also in 2007.

Musharraf has also been charged in connection with the 2007 assassination of prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

PTI

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