A special anti-terrorism court in Pakistan, hearing the Benazir Bhutto assassination case, on Monday once again sought an explanation from the country’s top investigation agency on the transactions in the frozen bank accounts of former military dictator Pervez Musharraf. Also Read - Pakistan Claims it Asked India to Appoint Counsel For Kulbhushan Jadhav
The directives were issued to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) during the hearing of the murder case of former prime minister Bhutto, in which the former president, now based in Dubai, is among the accused. Also Read - 'Abrogation of Article 370 India's Internal Matter, Other Nations Have no Business,' Says Venkaiah Naidu
The FIA’s prosecutor and investigation officer did not attend the hearing and the court expressed its displeasure over the agency’s failure to present details of 75-year-old Musharraf’s assets and transactions from his frozen bank accounts, The Express Tribune reported. Also Read - Such Comments Are Deeply Regrettable: MEA on Pakistan's Reaction to Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan
Judge Asghar Khan adjourned the hearing till July 27 and ordered the FIA to present an explanation on how transactions were taking place from a frozen account.
The anti-terrorism court has been seeking details of the transactions for months now, the report said.
On February 15, the FIA had submitted details of Musharraf’s properties in Pakistan. The agency told the court that its report contained complete details of Musharraf’s assets except for some of his bank accounts.
The court had reprimanded the FIA for allowing withdrawal of money from Musharraf’s frozen bank accounts and directed it to present a report.
At the time, the court was told that no huge amounts were debited and only bank charges were deducted. However, despite the passage of over three months, the FIA is yet to submit a comprehensive report on the illegal financial activity, the report said.
The court had also issued perpetual warrants for Musharraf’s arrest.
The Lahore High Court had suspended the sentence, while the district administration detained the suspects under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) law.
According to a report submitted by the FIA in January, Musharraf’s 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 and Rs120 million in 15 banks accounts.
The court had issued permanent warrants for Musharraf’s arrest for deliberately avoiding the hearing and ordered the FIA and district administration to provide details of his property.
Musharraf is also absconding in the high treason case after a special court indicted him in March 2014.
Musharraf left for Dubai in 2016 to “seek medical treatment” and has not returned since.
In February, he was admitted to a hospital in Dubai after suffering a reaction from a rare disease for which he is already under treatment.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had filed the treason case against Musharraf over the president’s imposition of extra-constitutional emergency in November 2007.
Musharraf ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008. A conviction for high treason carries the death penalty or life imprisonment.