January 12, 2019:
On Friday, the Supreme Court of Pakistan rejected recommendation of a probing body to close a case about the involvement of former army & ISI chiefs in financial scams aimed at rigging 1990 elections to keep former slain PM Benazir Bhutto out of power.
According to the petition filed by late air chief marshal Asghar Khan in 1996, former army chief General Aslam Beg, ex-ISI chief Lt Gen (retired) Asad Durrani and former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan had hatched a conspiracy to ensure Bhutto’s defeat in the 1990 elections.
The two senior army officers and then-president had doled out Rs 140 million among several politicians, including former PM Nawaz Sharif, to rig the 1990 polls against Bhutto, the petition alleges.
A political alliance consisting of nine parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League and Jamaat-e-Islami, had won the 1990 polls, with Nawaz Sharif elected as PM.
The alliance, known as the Islamic Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI),was allegedly formed and funded by the accused in the case.
On Oct 19, 2012, the Supreme Court had issued a 141-page verdict, ordering legal proceedings against Gen Beg and Asad Durrani, directing the Federal Investigation Agency to initiate a transparent investigation and subsequent trial if sufficient evidence was found against the former army officers.
Last month, the FIA had recommended to the apex court to close the files, citing lack of evidence. Following FIA’s suggestion, the court had notified Asghar Khan’s heirs about their reaction but the family had opposed the closure of the case.
A two-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar resumed hearing of the case earlier on Friday regarding non-implementation of its 2012 verdict.
Rejecting the FIA’s recommendation to close the case, the chief justice remarked that the court would not let Asghar Khan’s efforts go waste.
Before adjourning the case, the SC ordered that a notice be sent to the defense secretary and asked him to apprise the court on what progress had been made in the investigation.
The court ordered the reply to be submitted within a week and adjourned the case till Jan 25.