Nation special report
ISLAMABAD: It is now set that the political parties Former Chief of Army Staff General (Retd) Mirza Aslam Beg and ex-Director General Inter Services Intelligence Asad Durrani Wednesday separately appeared before the Federal Investigation to face allegations of distribution of money among the politicians in an alleged move to manipulate 1990’s general elections.
The official sources in the FIA informed that Beg and Durrani appeared before the FIA team, one after the other, to face charges of multi-million scandal that is commonly known as Asghar Khan Case. FIA’s Additional Director General Ihsan Sadiq is heading the committee.
However, no official word came from the agency that what was the response of the two former army generals when they faced queries of FIA that whether they were actually involved in alleged distribution of Rs140 million among the politicians in 1990’sto ensure defeat of the Pakistan People’s Party in then general elections. The FI had summoned former army chief and ex-spy master to appear before the committee constituted, the other day, to investigate the Asghar Khan case. The othermembers ofthe team are FIA’s officers, including Dr Usman Anwer, Dr Rizwan and Ali Sher Jhakrani.
FIA’s Director Punjab Dr Usman Anwer had also been investigating the case in the past. Earlier this month, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had given the federal government a week’s time to summon a cabinet meeting and decide what action should be taken in light of the 2012 judgement of Supreme Court in Asghar Khan Case.
The court had ordered this after it rejected the review petition of Beg and Durrani in the case that was pending for years. On October 19, 2012, the apex court had given the verdict ordering legal proceedings against Beg and Durrani in a petition filed in 1996 by former air chief Air Marshal Asghar Khan.
The court had also ordered FIA to investigate the allegations fresh and thoroughly. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and some other politicians could also face implications of the case as they were the alleged beneficiaries o fthe distributed money.
The petition alleged that the two senior army officers and the then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan had doled out Rs140 million among several politicians ahead of the general election. The Islamic Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), consisting of nine parties, including Pakistan Muslim League and Jamaat-e-Islami, had won the 1990 election. In a recent report submitted, FIA had told the Supreme Court that Beg and Durrani would be summoned soon to finalise the enquiry in the case.
FIA had started investigation in the case after 2012 verdict of apex court but the inquiry remained pending since recently chief justice passed the order in this connection. According to FIA submitted before EC, all the alleged beneficiaries of money earlier questioned by the FIA have denied taking the money. In the past, FIA had recorded the statements of 18 people, including former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former Governor Punjab Ghulam Mustafa Khar and two senior politicians, including Makhdoom Javed Hashmi and Abida Hussain.
Asghar Khan case In 1996, retired Air Marshal Asghar Khan had filed a human rights petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, accusing the ISI of doling out money to a group of politicians in the 1990s. The case was initiated by the air marshal after Benazir Bhutto’s interior minister, retired Gen Naseerullah Babar, had disclosed in the National Assembly in 1994 how the ISI had disbursed funds to purchase the loyalty of politicians and public figures so as to manipulate the 1990 elections, form the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), and affect the defeat of the PPP.