ATC seeks FIA reply on former General Musharraf's financial activity

ISLAMABAD: Special anti-terrorism court (ATC) Judge Muhammad Asghar Khan took strict notice of heavy amounts of money being withdrawn from the frozen bank accounts of former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, who is an absconder in the Benezir Bhutto murder case.

The court issued notices to high officials of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) as well as the SHO of the agency’s Rawalpindi police station ordering them to submit an explanation by June 17.

The court also censured the SHO for failing to present a complete list of assets and bank accounts owned by Musharraf inside and outside the country.

The SHO has been directed to present the details in the next hearing.

The judge also lambasted the SHO and the prosecutor for not showing up for the past three hearings. Musharraf has been declared an absconder in the case and his permanent arrest warrants have been issued by the court. The authorities are taking legal action to seize all movable and immovable properties of the suspect.

Media had reported withdrawal of a sizeable amount from the frozen bank accounts of the former military ruler.

The ATC had in August 2017 convicted former additional inspector general Saud Aziz and senior superintendent of police Khurram Shehzad in the Benazir murder case and awarded both of them 17 years’ imprisonment.

It had acquitted five suspects belonging to the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan — Rafaqat Hussain, Hasnain Gul, Aitzaz Shah, Sher Zaman and Rashid Ahmed. It issued perpetual warrants for the arrest of Mr Musharraf for being an absconder in the case.

The Lahore High Court had suspended the sentence, while the district administration detained the suspects under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) law.

Musharraf is also absconding in the high treason case and the murder case of Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi and his properties have been confiscated in these cases as well.

On Dec 15, the ATC judge had issued arrest warrants for FIA special prosecutor Khawaja Imtiaz and investigation officer Azmat Mahmood for failing to appear before the court.