LAHORE - No politician accused of receiving money out of Rs 60 million allegedly distributed by ex-army chief Mirza Aslam Beg and former ISI DG Asad Durrani among the country’s politicians to influence the general elections 1990 has responded to the notices issued by the FIA probe team despite the lapse of three weeks, insiders told The Nation on Thursday.
Following the orders of the Supreme Court, three weeks ago the FIA constituted a four-member team, headed by Additional Director General Muhammad Ghalib Bandisha, while Dr Usman Anwar, Qudratullah Khan and Najab Quli were its members. The committee was tasked to probe distribution of Rs 140 million by the army among the politicians.
The politicians who had allegedly received the money and are still alive are Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, PTI leader Javed Hashmi, Ghulam Mustafa Khar, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, Muzaffar Hussain Shah, Arbab Ghulam Rahim and Abida Hussain. However, only Abida Hussain returned Rs1 million after the case was taken up by the apex court.
Initiating legal proceedings, the team on December 6, 2013, issued notices in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s 141-page verdict on Asghar Khan’s petition.
A team member, requesting anonymity, told The Nation that the team had issued notices to Asghar Khan, Younis Habib, ex-army chief Aslam Beg, ex-ISI DG Asad Durani and some civilians. He confirmed that none of them had replied to the notices.
“We want to complete inquiry in six month as per the FIA law, but the respondents are not showing seriousness in this regard,” the member, hailing from Islamabad, maintained. He said the team would again send notices to them to fulfil the legal formalities.
“The defence ministry has also not provided any record related to Air Marshal (r) Asghar Khan to the interior ministry,” the investigator said, adding the team had the option of obtaining the case record from the apex court’s registrar office.
“The record submitted to the apex court during the hearing of the case is sufficient to enable the investigators to go ahead with the inquiry,” he maintained while replying to a query.
The apex court, in its judgment on October 19, 2012, had held, “In the instant case it has been established that in the general elections 1990 an election cell was set up in the Presidency to influence the elections and was aided by General (r) Mirza Aslam Beg who was the chief of army staff and by General (r) Asad Durrani, the then ISI director general, and they indulged in the unlawful activities of the election cell in violation of the responsibilities of the Army and ISI as institutions, which is an act of individuals but not of institutions represented by them, respectively.”
To the extent of Aslam Beg and Asad Durrani, the judgment had further clarified in page 137 that the late Ghulam Ishaq Khan, the then President of Pakistan, 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 the rival candidates in the general elections 1990 for which they got funds from Younis Habib.
“Their acts have brought a bad name to Pakistan and its armed forces as well as secret agencies in the eyes of the nation, therefore, notwithstanding that they have retired from service, the federal government shall take necessary steps under the Constitution and law against them,” the judgment held.
The FIA inquiry team member said though in the light of the SC verdict, Aslam Beg, Asad Durrani and Younis Habib were the main accused, the team would not ignore the fresh statements of all the stakeholders.
When contacted, former ISI head Asad Durrani said he didn’t want to comment on the Aghar Khan case. “I will face any outcome of the FIA inquiry,” he said and turned off his mobile phone. Ex-army chief Aslam Beg also refused to offer comments when approached on telephone.
Talking about the money distributed among the politicians, the investigator said only Rs 60 million were distributed among the politicians most of whom had passed away.
The deceased politicians are Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, Jam Sadiq Ali, Muhammad Khan Junejo, Pir Sibghatullah Pagara, Salah-ud-Din, Miraj Khalid and Sarwar Cheema.
He said the FIA team would probe the accused politicians as per the fresh statements of Asghar Khan and Younis Habib. He said the team had sent a notice to Younis Habib at his Karachi residence, but he too did not respond. He said no notice had been issued to PM Nawaz Sharif as the team wanted to record the statement of Younis Habib first. Importantly, the remaining Rs 80 million were deposited in the military’s bank accounts.