ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday summoned details of assets of former President Asif Ali Zardari and his children within 15 days. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar was hearing Zardari’s review petition against the apex court’s earlier verdict summoning details of his assets in relation to the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) case.On August 29, the apex court had summoned details of the former president’s assets from the past 10 years, while hearing a petition related to the NRO, passed by General (retd) Pervaiz Musharraf’s government in 2007. As the hearing went under way, the court directed, “Zardari should submit details of inherited assets.”To this, the former president’s counsel, Farooq Naik, said, “You can have details for the last five years but please don’t ask for details of the last 10 years. The law only holds for five years.” However, the court refused Naik’s request and upheld that asset details should be provided for the last 10 years.Naik then requested, “Asset details of autonomous children should not be summoned either.” The chief justice in response said, “Now, all children are autonomous and mature. But daughters are under guardianship till marriage.”The former president’s counsel then said, “Zardari was co-accused in eight cases.” Further, Justice Ijazul Ahsan questioned Naik, “Did you destroy all records yourself?” To this, the former president’s counsel stated, “I indicated towards the presence of the record. An affidavit was summoned from Zardari under Article 184(3).” Responding to Naik, the chief justice said, “Public money is for the people’s welfare which is why we used Article184 (3). This is not a corruption issue; we are just increasing our ambit.”Also during the hearing, the CJP inquired why was the former president, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, was not returning to Pakistan to face the charges. The CJP said Musharraf had left the country on grounds of poor health but he could be seen dancing in several videos circulating on the Internet. In response, the former president’s counsel, Akhtar Shah, said, “Musharraf can return if restrictions are not imposed on his travel.” To this, the chief justice remarked, “His name has not been removed from the Exit Control List.”Justice Nisar assured that Musharraf’s security will be ensured. “Even if he asks for the security given to a brigade, we will provide it,” he said.“We will provide him any kind of security he asks for, and he can get his treatment done from a doctor of his choice whether it is at the Combined Military Hospital or at Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi,” Justice Nisar added. Further, the chief justice said that ahead of Musharraf’s arrival in the country his house will be cleaned under Naeem Bukhari’s supervision.“A contingent of Rangers will receive him at whatever airport he lands at,” the CJP assured. Justice Nisar continued, “He should come and record his statement and then he is free to roam around wherever he pleases.”The chief justice also guaranteed that they will take all measures that Musharraf desires ahead of his return and the top court will ensure his security and not question him regarding his assets.Turning to Musharraf’s counsel, Justice Nisar remarked, “Tell me the schedule of his return.” Shah responded, “Musharraf is not a coward and will return if his travel is not banned.” The former president’s counsel also submitted an affidavit in court on his behalf.Justice Nisar then asked, “Are there different laws for Musharraf? Provide a reply on whether or not he will return to the country within a week.”Earlier, details pertaining to assets owned by Musharraf were presented in the apex court. The court then adjourned the hearing of the case for one week.Nominating Musharraf, Zardari and Qayyum as respondents, petitioner Feroz Shah Gilani had requested the court in April to order recovery of ‘huge amounts of public money’ misappropriated and wasted by them through unlawful means ‘already on record in different judgements’.He had contended that Musharraf subverted the Constitution by declaring emergency followed by the promulgation of the NRO, through which criminal and corruption cases against politicians, including Zardari, were ‘arbitrarily withdrawn’.Published in Daily Times, September 26th 2018.