Pakistan court orders confiscation of Musharraf's property

Former president faces a string of court cases connected to his rule, including treason and the storming of the Red Mosque.

ISLAMABAD // A Pakistani court where former military ruler Pervez Musharraf is on trial for a deadly raid on Islamabad’s radical Red Mosque passed an order Saturday confiscating his property.

Former president Musharraf, who left Pakistan for Dubai in March for what was described as urgent medical treatment, is facing a string of court cases connected to his rule, which lasted from 1999 to 2008.

Lower court judge Pervaiz Qadir Memon passed the order on Saturday in a case concerning the death of radical cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi, one of more than 100 people killed when Pakistani troops stormed the Red Mosque in 2007.

“Our next move will be to put pressure on the interior ministry to bring Musharraf back home so he can face all cases against him,” said lawyer Tariq Asad, who represents the Red Mosque.

A special court which is trying Musharraf for treason, issued a similar order in July but little has resulted from that verdict.

“Today’s court order will help mount pressure on the government, ”said Mr Asad.

Mr Musharraf ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup in 1999. He resigned in 2008 to avoid possible impeachment and went into exile overseas.

He returned in 2013 in an attempt to contest elections but was barred from taking part and from leaving the country while facing a barrage of legal cases.

The travel ban was lifted in March.

The massacre at the Red Mosque came after a stand-off between students and the government in July, 2007 escalated into a bloody gun battle in which students, journalists, paramilitary personnel and a businessman were killed and over a hundred other people injured. Negotiations to end the stand-off appeared to be successful at first but then fell apart after Mr Musharraf — the president at the time — allegedly reneged on the terms at the last minute. Despite the presence of hundreds of female students inside the mosque, the order was given to attack.

After the mosque had been under occupation for a week, 164 elite commandos of the Pakistani army stormed the building under cover of darkness., just before dawn, while police and paramilitaries secured the outer perimeter. They encountered fierce resistance. but the early hours of the next morning, the government had claimed control of the mosque complex and Abdul Rashid Ghazi lay dead in the basement of the madrasa, his body riddled with bullets.

In January this year Musharraf was acquitted over the 2006 killing of a Baloch rebel leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti.

However, his legal troubles are far from over. He has four outstanding cases against him — one accusing him of treason for imposing emergency rule, as well as those alleging the unlawful dismissal of judges, the assassination of opposition leader Bhutto and the deadly raid on the Red Mosque.

The Baloch Republican Party on Saturday said it was planning to file cases against Mr Musaharraf in the International Court of Justice regarding his alleged involvement in the killing of women and children in Balochistan province, said party founder Brahamdagh Bugti.

* Agence France-Presse

Published: September 17, 2016 04:00 AM


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