A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez heard the case against political funding by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the run-up to 1990 elections.
The petition was filed in 1996 by Tehrik-i-Istiqlal chief Asghar Khan requesting the apex court to look into allegations that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had provided money to a large number of politicians before the 1990 elections by dishing out Rs140 million to create the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad and stop Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) from winning the election.
During today’s hearing, the bench was of the opinion that the report submitted by the interior ministry was based on the recollections of Rehman Malik and therefore was not acceptable.
In the course of Court’s proceedings, Intelligence Bureau (IB) produced the sealed report regarding the distribution of Rs.270 million by the IB to topple Punjab government in 2009.
Then the SC sought reply from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in connection with the IB report.
The NAB chairman told the Court about unavailability of record of cases against Younis Habib.
The Attorney General Irfan Qadir told the court that investigation reports on scandals of Mehran and Habib banks are missing regarding the political funding by the Establishment to the politicians of Islami Jamhoori Ittihad (IJI).
The Chief Justice then passed remarks that even private persons have those reports including the anchorpersons of private television channels. He stated that the hearing would not be fruitful till the required information is missing.
The SC directed Salman Akram Raja who is the counsel of petitioner Asghar Khan to request anchorpersons for obtaining reports.
The Chief Justice directed the Attorney General to inform FIA if reports have been misplaced then theft FIR should be registered and ordered to apprehend the accused.
When the SC asked about the reports regarding second case of plea-bargaining against Younis Habib, the NAB informed the Court they are searching to find that record. Justice Khilji Arif Hussain remarked it is very strange that reports have not been found yet in the era of computers and technologies.
The Attorney General submitted the reports of the Interior Ministry regarding Mehran Bank scandal during the tenure of Naseer Ullah Babar that stated the delivery of 50 million rupees to Nawaz Sharif. He criticized the role of Younis Habib in distributing the erroneous funding and stated Asad Durrani had written a letter to Benazir Bhutto to inform about the recipient of funds.
He stated that then Interior Minister Naseer Ullah Babar had directed Rehman Malik FIA Officer at that time to investigate and sent him to Germany due to the risk of theft of written statement of Asad Durrani.
Salman Akram Raja said receipts of funds delivery are at hand according to Naseer Ullah Babar including the receipts of receiving funds by Muhammad Khan Junejo and Liaqat Jatoi, and General Aslam Baig was provided with funds till 1993. He marked the statement of Asad Durrani and Aslam Baig enough to continue the case.
The Chief Justice remarked that what would be the consequences of looted money and urged to conclude all the matters.
While Akram Sheikh, who is the counsel of Aslam Baig stated that his client had no connection with the funding rather his client was responsible for transparent distribution of the funds. Then CJ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry remarked, was that task worth acting as an Army Chief.
Salman Akram Raja said Younis Habib had granted 140 million rupees to the MI and ISI in 1991 as a donation, and Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Roedad Khan and Ajlal Haider Zaidi were aware of that situation.
Then the Chief Justice remarked that the Court instead of forming a new commission is of the view what was then Army Chief doing. Justice Khilji Arif Hussain remarked then Army Chief should refuse to involve his department in the dirty game and no one can work above the Constitution. The SC directed Attorney General Irfan Qadir to present the investigation reports on scandals of Mehran and Habib banks till May 10.
Then the Court sought details of 140 million rupees from Akram Sheikh and adjourned the hearing till May 10.
Meanwhile, Salman Akram Raja talked to the media outside the SC and said distribution of funds is a critical matter and it cannot be thrown out. He stated if the record is not being found then judgment should be made by seeking the available record.
He termed task of filing a case against Pervez Musharraf as government’s job not as the Court’s business. He said the SC wants to fully investigate the Mehrangate scandal and it seeks reports about other recipients of funds, so that detail verdict would be made possible.
Salman Akram Raja stated if the verdict would come against the former army men then government would have to take action or to decide by seeking the Army Act.—Online