ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday has given a month deadline to the Ministry of Defence to complete its inquiry against armed forces personnel involved in distributing money to politicians in the Asghar Khan case.
On Jan 11, then chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar, after accepting the plea of the family of the late retired Air Marshal Asghar Khan, had ordered fixing of the matter before the court.
Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who was heading a three-judge bench, remarked that it seems as though the FIA wants to retreat from the case.
Justice Gulzar pointed mentioned that the army had said that action against involved personnel is ongoing. The judge asked the attorney general why the army was undertaking an inquiry against the former officers instead of initiating court-martial proceedings.
The attorney general responded that investigation is a legal requirement that must be fulfilled prior to initiating court-martial proceedings.
Justice Gulzar asked the attorney general how long after retirement such proceedings could be initiated, to which the attorney general responded it is possible to initiate such proceedings even after retirement.
The judge stated that the court would examine all reports before issuing orders. “At the moment, the Ministry of Defence has asked for four weeks’ time, which is why the case will be adjourned for four weeks,” Justice Gulzar said.
The judge observed that the FIA in its report mentioned that it had been unable to collect evidence because banks don’t keep more than the 28-year-old record. “In that case, we will summon the heads of the banks,” he said.
Justice Gulzar remarked that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and its founder Altaf Hussain had also received money, but noted that Hussain’s name had not been mentioned in the case or the FIA report.
The attorney general told the judge that the FIA report had mentioned Hussain’s name. He said that negotiations are being made with British authorities for repatriation of Altaf Hussain and some others and that a breakthrough was expected in this regard.