By Senator Rehman Malik
Amidst present political polarisation in Pakistan, I saw a headline in newspapers regarding the IJI funding case and distribution of money to certain prominent politicians, which reminded me the factual background and my time in the FIA under Gen. Naseerullah Baber and the Affidavit by Gen. Asad Durrani regarding distribution of those funds.
It took me to the time when I was in the FIA working as Director. I remember It was an early morning of a hot summer day when I got a phone call from Gen Babar asking me “chief ” (Gen. Baber used to address me as Chief) reach my office as we both have to be with PM.”
After next one hour we were with the Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who handed over a hand written letter by Gen Asad Durrani, former DG/ISI, detailing about the distribution of government money to the politicians from Habib Bank through Younis Habib, the then Senior Executive Vice President of HBL who subsequently had opened his own bank namely Mehran Bank. Gen Asad Durrani had volunteered to state the facts to the nation out of his conscience.
I was, consequently, directed by the PM and the Minister for Interior to immediately fly to Germany and record the statement of Gen Asad Durrani who was posted as Ambassador of Pakistan there. Within next 48 hours I was on the plane to reach Germany. I met General Durrani at his residence where we had some discussion. I was thinking as to why is he giving this statement spelling out the name of the politicians and involving his own institution and himself too. I could ask the said question as FIA officer as per given procedure. I found Gen. Durrani as most decent man and polite to speak. He had himself decided to expose the whole misdeeds of political interference/funding of IJI by his seniors including himself as well as the direct involvement of President Ishaq Khan.
During discussions I made it clear to him that being Ambassador he was under no pressure to disclose anything, which could eventually explode like a volcano hitting hard not only himself but also all the characters involved in this conspiracy back home. He, however, decided to rock the boat by exposing every character involved in the creation of IJI and funding against PPP. I was there to get his statement and wanted to finalise my assignment at the earliest. Out of two options i.e. either to write it down or get it typed, he decided to write it down with his own hand. He then wrote whole details on a plain paper with blue pen in his own hand. After having the handwritten statement from Gen. Asad Durrani, I came back and handed over the same to Gen Babar who subsequently discussed it with the Prime Minister. Besides, I was directed by the Interior Minister to meet and discuss the contents with the then Attorney General for Pakistan, Qazi Jamil in his office in an arranged meeting with him. It was advised by the AG that the statement has to be on stamp paper in the form of an Affidavit to carry evidentiary value to the disclosures in the court.
As directed, I again visited Germany and met Gen. Durrani and conveyed the advice of the Attorney General. I remember it was late afternoon and we discussed the whole matter over on a cup of tea. Gen. Durrani decided to type out the Affidavit on stamp paper already issued in his name under his authority. I remember to have gone to his residence office where he himself typed out the Affidavit with his two fingers on an almost 50 years old type of typewriter.
I took the same and returned to Pakistan and got its coloured copies and kept the original at safe place with me and sealed coloured copies with my then staff office / DD FIA telling him this was the original affidavit. When I asked my Staff Officer after three days about that sealed letter purported to have been original one but to my horror the staff officer informed that it was not there where he had kept in lock and key. It was confirmation test to my earlier information that the said paper would be stolen.
I immediately informed the Minister about the missing of the coloured copy of the Affidavit and it was, consequently, decided that the original Affidavit should be handed over to the Registrar of the Supreme Court in the presence of the Attorney General. Accordingly, it was handed over to the Registrar in the presence of the witnesses. In fact, it was the intention of the then government to constitute a judicial commission to investigate it and Gen Babar obtained this permission on phone. As was expected, President Farooq Leghari showed his cold feet, as he himself was involved in Mehran Bank scam where he had sold his barren land to different people through Younis Habib on very high prices on cash and the Bank had favoured him through its Chief Operating Officer Younis Habib. The Commission was, however, announced headed by Justice Bhatti, Judge of the Supreme Court with the following mandate: –
Investigation into money distributed from HBL as per the statement of Gen Durrani.
Misdeeds within Mehran Bank.
The Prime Minister directed Gen Baber to discuss it with the then COAS Gen. Abdul Wahid Kakar in details and accordingly we, both the Minister and I visited the GHQ and met with the COAS to discuss the matter.
(To be continued)
(The writer is a PPP Senator, former Interior Minister of Pakistan, and Chairman of think tank “Global Eye” and Senate Body on Interior and Narcotics.) firstname.lastname@example.org @senrehmanmalik