Islamabad (December 28, 2018): The Supreme Court has fixed December 31st as the date of hearing for the Asghar Khan case involving alleged distribution of Rs140 million by the Inter-Services Intelligence among a group of politicians to manipulate the 1990 general election.
A three-member bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Munib Akhtar will take up the case.
At the previous hearing, the court had directed the Attorney General for Pakistan and the Director-General of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to provide details of the progress made to implement the landmark court verdict in the Asghar Khan case.
Justice Saqib had noted that the court will fix the responsibility on those who did not implement the verdict, despite a lapse of many years.The court had also rejected the petitions filed by former army chief Gen (retd) Mirza Aslam Beg and DG ISI Lt-Gen (Retd) Asad Durrani to review the short verdict passed by the top court on October 19, 2012 on a petition of Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan, who died on January 5, 2018.
In the short order, the apex court had directed the federal government to initiate action against the Gen Beg and Gen Durrani for their role in dishing out Rs140 million to the group of politicians.
In its November 8, 2012 detailed judgment, the Supreme Court had ordered the FIA to initiate proceedings against the politicians, including former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who had allegedly been given a total of Rs140 million with the objective of blocking chances of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s victory in the 1990 general election.
The 140-page detailed judgment, authored by the then CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had emphasized that all officers who obeyed unlawful commands were individually liable and in the event of failure of the state authorities to take action, the rights of the people of Pakistan were to be upheld by the Supreme Court.The verdict had conceded that the 1990 general election was polluted by doling out Rs140 million to a particular group of politicians only to deprive the people of the chance of being represented by their chosen representatives.
It also held that the President of Pakistan, Chief of the Army Staff, ISI DG or their subordinates certainly were not supposed to create an ‘Election Cell’ or to support a political party/group of political parties, because if they did so, the citizens would fail to elect their representatives in an honest, fair and free process of election, and their actions would negate the constitutional mandate on the subject.
According to the judgment, an election cell was established in the presidency to influence the general election of 1990. Then army chief Gen Beg and then ISI DG Lt-Gen Durrani participated in the unlawful activities of the election cell in violation of the responsibilities of the army and ISI as institutions, which was an act of individuals, but not of the institution they represented.The judgment also said that the ISI or MI may perform their duties as per laws to safeguard the borders of Pakistan or to provide civil aid to the federal government, but such organizations have no role to play in political activities or politics, for formulation or destabilization of political governments, nor can they facilitate or show favour to a political party or group of political parties or politicians individually, in any manner, which may lead in his or their success.
In 1996, retired Air Marshal Asghar Khan wrote a letter to the then CJP Nasim Hassan Shah alleging that the then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan, then army chief General Mirza Aslam Beg, then director general ISI Lt Gen Asad Durrani and then head of Habib Bank Sindh and owner of now defunct Mehran Bank, Younis Habib had doled out Rs140 million among several politicians ahead of 1990 polls to ensure Benazir Bhutto’s defeat in the general elections.