–Attorney general tells top court Nawaz is occupied with accountability court proceedings
–Apex court orders all respondents to submit written replies by Saturday
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday ordered all the respondents in Asghar Khan case to submit written replies by June 9 while adjourning the hearing after deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif failed to show up.
On June 2, the Supreme Court had issued notices to Nawaz and senior politician Javed Hashmi as well as 19 other civilians named in the Asghar Khan case.
Over the course of the hearing, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, heading the three-member bench, inquired whether Nawaz Sharif, one of the respondents, was in the court. He was responded in negative.
Consequently, the CJP expressed displeasure upon ex-PM’s absence, saying: “Why Nawaz Sharif hasn’t appeared before the bench despite being summoned. It was a court order and people must comply with court orders.” He then directed the Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf to ask Nawaz to appear in the court within an hour as he was in Islamabad.
However, Nawaz did not appear, and AG Ausaf apprised the chief justice that Nawaz was caught up in graft cases against him at the accountability court, therefore he was unable to attend the hearing.
Referring to veteran politician Javed Hashmi, the CJP observed that Hashmi is present in the court. “Let’s ask Hashmi if he took the money or not.” To this, Hashmi said that he has been acquitted of corruption charges by the accountability courts.
Retracting notice issued to Pakistan People’s Party’s Khursheed Shah, the top court observed that the notice was issued by mistake.
NAWAZ GRANTED TIME TO SEEK LEGAL COUNSEL:
Later in the hearing, the court granted time to Nawaz Sharif to seek a legal counsel in the case. “Nawaz Sharif will be represented by his lawyer,” said attorney general, adding that former premier is looking for a legal counsel to represent him.
Advocate Aitzaz Ahsan pointed out that Nawaz’s name has been mentioned three times in the case. The CJP remarked that Nawaz will have to submit a separate reply for every date. “Nawaz will be investigated at every cost.”
The hearing was then adjourned until June 12.
On June 16, 1996, Asghar Khan had written a letter to then CJP Sajjad Ali Shah which contained names of politicians who had allegedly received money from the ISI ahead of the 1990 general elections. The fund was allegedly provided by Younas Habib, the then chief executive officer of Habib Bank Limited (HBL), which was a government bank at that time.
According to the letter, Sharif had allegedly received Rs3.5 million, Mir Afzal Khan Rs10 million, Lt Gen Rafaqat Rs5.6 million [for distributing among journalists], Abida Hussain Rs1 million, the Jamaat-e-Islami Rs5 million, and senior journalist Altaf Hussain Qureshi Rs500,000.
Moreover, in Sindh, Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi received Rs5 million, Jam Sadiq Rs5 million, Muhammad Khan Junejo Rs250,000, Pir Pagara Rs2 million, Maulana Salahuddin Rs300,000 and other small groups were given Rs5.4 million.
In Balochistan, Humayun Marri received Rs1.5 million. The letter also contained the names of Bizenjo and Kakar tribes.
The top court had, in its verdict announced in November 2012, said that former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Mirza Aslam Beg and Asad Durrani acted in violation of the Constitution by facilitating a group of politicians and political parties to ensure their success against rival candidates in the 1990 general elections.
The court had also said that president, being head of the state in the parliamentary system of government, represents unity of the republic under Article 41 of the Constitution; and according to the oath of his office, he will do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill will.
The seven-page short order, authored by former CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry, read, “Any Election Cell/Political Cell in Presidency or ISI or MI [Military Intelligence] or within their formations shall be abolished immediately and any letter/notification to the extent of creating any such Cell/Department by any name whatsoever, explained herein, shall stand cancelled forthwith.”
The court also held that the involvement of the officers or members of secret agencies in unlawful activities, individually or collectively, called for strict action “being, violative of oath of their offices”, and if involved, they are liable to be dealt with under the Constitution and the Law.
“The citizens of Pakistan as a matter of right are free to elect their representatives in an election process being conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with the law,” it had said.
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