ISLAMABAD: Former army chief General (r) Mirza Aslam Beg and former director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lt Gen (r) Asad Durrani appeared before a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) committee constituted to investigate the Asghar Khan case.
According to sources, Gen Beg appeared first before the investigators and also brought relevant documents with him. After his questioning concluded, Lt Gen Durrani reached the FIA Headquarters for investigation.
The FIA on Tuesday constituted a committee to conduct an investigation in the Asghar Khan case. The committee is being headed by Ahsan Sadiq, a grade 21 officer at the FIA. The other members of the committee are Dr Usman Anwar, Dr Rizwan and FIA Director Law Ali Sher Jakhrani.
CABINET GIVEN ONE WEEK FOR FOLLOW-UP:
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar had given the federal government a week’s time to summon a cabinet meeting to determine what action to take in light of the 2012 Asghar Khan case verdict, which may also have implications for deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Declining Attorney General for Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf’s request seeking two weeks for the government to outline a procedure, the apex court noted that the ruling setup’s tenure was ending in three weeks, therefore, a special meeting of the cabinet can be summoned to decide on the matter.
On October 19, 2012, the apex court had issued a 141-page verdict, ordering legal proceedings against Gen (r) Beg and Lt Gen (r) Durrani in a case filed 16 years ago by former air chief Air Marshal Asghar Khan.
Khan had petitioned the SC in 1996 alleging that the two senior army officers and the then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan had doled out Rs140 million among several politicians ahead of the 1990 polls to ensure Benazir Bhutto’s defeat in the polls.
The Islamic Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), consisting of nine parties including the Pakistan Muslim League, National People’s Party and Jamaat-e-Islami, had won the 1990 elections, with Nawaz Sharif being elected prime minister. The alliance had been formed to oppose the Benazir Bhutto-led Pakistan People’s Party.
In 1996, Khan had written a letter to the then CJP Nasim Hassan Shah naming Beg, Durrani and Younis Habib, the ex-Habib Bank Sindh chief and owner of Mehran Bank, about the unlawful disbursement of public money and its misuse for political purposes.
According to the letter, Nawaz 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; Jamaat-e-Islami, Rs5 million and senior journalist Altaf Hussain Qureshi, Rs500,000. In Sindh, Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi received Rs5 million; Jam Sadiq got Rs5 million; Muhammad Khan Junejo Rs250,000; Pir Pagara, Rs2 million; Maulana Salahuddin, Rs300,000 and other small groups in Sindh got Rs5.4 million. In Balochistan, Humayun Marri received Rs1.5 million. The letter also contained the names of Bizenjo and Kakar tribes.
The 2012 judgement, authored by the then-CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had directed the FIA to initiate a transparent investigation and subsequent trial if sufficient evidence is found against the former army officers. That investigation is yet to conclude.
The seven-page short order said: “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.”