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March 9, 2018

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Treason case: ‘Seize and bring back Musharraf’

ISLAMABAD: The Special Court hearing the treason case against former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf ordered his arrest and confiscation of his properties. The hearing resumed on Thursday after a gap of nine months. The Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Yahya Afridi is heading the bench which includes the Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Yawar Ali and Balochistan High Court (BHC) Justice Tahira Safdar.

The court also sought mutual legal assistance agreement with the UAE in the matter of arrest of Musharraf from Dubai.

The bench, formed in 2013, is hearing the case of imposition of extra-constitutional emergency by Musharraf in November 2007. As the hearing went under way, the Interior Ministry submitted in the court a report on Musharraf’s properties, stating that four of seven properties are owned by the former president and army chief. Akram Sheikh, presenting arguments, pressed the court to order Musharraf’s arrest and production in court.

The court inquired from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials what was the procedure to bring back an absconder from abroad. The officials replied that the Interior Ministry sends them a request in this regard after which action is taken.

Justice Yahya Afridi remarked that the court is ordering the arrest and seizure of Musharraf's properties. Musharraf's counsel, Akhtar Shah, pleaded the court not to order confiscation of Musharraf's properties until March 21, but Justice Afridi remarked that this is court procedure and cannot be curtailed. The hearing was then adjourned until March 21.

Moreover, during the hearing, senior lawyer Farogh Naseem excused himself from Musharraf's legal team. The former army chief was indicted in the case in March 2014 after he appeared before the court and rejected all charges.

On March 18, 2016, the former military ruler left Pakistan for Dubai for medical treatment after his name was removed from the Exit Control List (ECL) on the orders of the Supreme Court. A few months later, the Special Court had declared him a proclaimed offender and ordered the confiscation of his property owing to his no-show.

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