Asghar Khan case
The Supreme Court on Monday threw out review petitions filed by former chief of army staff (COAS) Mirza Aslam Beg and former director general (DG) Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Asad Durrani against the implementation of the apex court’s 2012 decision in the Asghar Khan case.
In 2012, the apex court had ordered the federal government to take necessary legal action against retired Gen Aslam Beg and retired Lt Gen Asad Durrani for their role in ‘facilitating’ a group of politicians and political parties to ensure their success in the 1990 elections.
While hearing the review petitions Monday, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar asked what action had been taken on the Supreme Court’s orders in the six years since they were given.
Representing the wife and son of late air marshal Asghar Khan — the original petitioner against the two Army officers — Salman Akram Raja told the court that it had, in its 2012 order, declared that rigging did occur in the 1990 elections and subsequently ordered action against the then president, Ghulam Ishaq Khan.
He further recalled that the court had declared ‘illegal’ the role of Durrani and Beg, while Younus Habib of Mehran Bank had also been made a party.
Opponents of the PPP were given money around the 1990s elections, he stated for the court, at which Justice Nisar remarked, “[Further] investigations are necessary to ascertain who got how much of the money.”
“The court has already ordered investigations into the matter and action against those found responsible for the rigging,” Raja responded.
Raja continued that the officers had accepted their ‘role’ in the elections and the court had held that there is no room for the army’s interference in the elections process.
The chief justice then asked the attorney general to appear and explain the progress made in the case since the decision was given.
“We want to find out about the people in the government who did not allow the implementation of the order in the Asghar Khan case,” the CJP said.
DG Federal Investigation Agency Basheer Memon informed the court that statements of 18 people have already been taken, while 12 who were supposed to be probed have since passed away. Meanwhile, 190 clips of video evidence have also been acquired.
He said a sum of Rs140m had been funneled into six benami accounts, and a total of 15 accounts are under investigation. He said that while those who have been alleged of giving the money have accepted their involvement, those who allegedly received it have not accepted that they received it.
The attorney general asked for two days to explain the government’s position on the matter, but the CJP gave him until tonight.
The review petitions filed by both Durrani and Beg were then thrown out by the court, but a hearing was called tomorrow for the government to explain why the Supreme Court’s order has not been implemented so far.
In 1996, Air Marshal Khan had filed a human rights petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, accusing the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of doling out money to a group of politicians in the 1990s.
The case was initiated by the air marshal after Benazir Bhutto’s interior minister, retired general Naseerullah Babar, had disclosed in the National Assembly in 1994 how the ISI had disbursed funds to purchase the loyalty of politicians and public figures so as to manipulate the 1990 elections, form the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), and bring about the defeat of the PPP.
16 years after the petition was filed, the Supreme Court in its judgement — penned by then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry — ruled that the 1990 general elections had been polluted by dishing out Rs140 million to a particular group of politicians only to deprive the people of being represented by their chosen representatives.