By Raza Ruman
Lahore, Oct 19 (www.pakdestiny.com) As the Supreme Court has ordered legal proceedings against former army chief Gen Aslam Baig and ex-ISI Gen Asad Durani for distrbuting money among politicians to stop Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party from winning 1990 election, a good number of politicians including Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Liaquat Baloch, Javed Hashmi and Abida Hussain could be stopped from taking part in elections if the Federal Investigation Agency presents ‘proof’ of their involvment to the court.
The PPP and PTI circles termed it a ‘landmark’ ruling from the Supreme Court 16 years after retired air marshal Asghar Khan filed a case, accusing the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency of doling out money to a group of politicians in the 1990s in famous Mehrangate scandal.
During the Mehrangate investigations of 1993 which led up to the Supreme Court case, Younis Habib as per his statement indicated that besides Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif, other political figures also received money.
In this respect, Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif received Rs3.5 million and Rs2.5 million, respectively. Mir Afzal received Rs 10 million, Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi Rs 5 million, Jam Sadiq Ali Rs 5 million, Mohammed Khan Junejo Rs 2.5 million, Pir Pagaro Rs 2 million, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada Rs 3 million, Yusuf Haroon Rs 5 million, Abida Hussain Rs 1 million, Humayun Marri Rs 5.4 million, Jamaat-e-Islami Rs 5 million, Mustafa Sadiq Rs0.5 million, Arbab Ghulam Aftab Rs 0.3 million, Pir Noor Mohammad Shah Rs 0.3 million; Arbab Faiz Mohammad Rs 0.3 million, Arbab Ghulam Habib Rs 0.2 million, Liaquat Baloch Rs1.5 million, Javed Hashmi MNA and others Rs 50 million, Jam Yusuf Rs.0.75 million, Nadir Magsi Rs1 million etc.
Sources told Pak Destiny that the PML-N leadership has contacted the PPP asking it not to pursue this case aggressively in the FIA as it is ready to strike a deal with it for interim and 2013 elections. “Nawaz Sharif fears that he may lose his chance of becoming a prime minister after 2013 elections in case he is convicted for receiving money from ISI in Mehrangate,” the sourece said.
A three-judge bench comprising the chief justice, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain issued the short order after hearing a petition filed in 1996 by Khan requesting the court to look into allegations that the Inter-Services Intelligence had financed many politicians in the 1990 election by dishing out Rs140 million to create the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) and stop Benazir Bhutto’s PPP from coming to power. The petition was based on an affidavit of Durrani.
The Supreme Court in its short order ruled that there was ample evidence to suggest that the 1990 election was rigged and that a political cell maintained by the then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan supported the formation of the IJI to stop a victory of the PPP. The ruling said Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Baig and Durrani violated the Constitution.
“Late Ghulam Ishaq Khan, the then President of Pakistan, General (R) Aslam Baig and General (R) Asad Durrani acted in violation of the Constitution,” said the apex court, adding the federal government should take “necessary steps under the Constitution and Law against them.”
Stating that corruption was carried out in the 1990 election, the ruling said that the president, the army chief and the ISI’s director-general were not authorised to constitute an election cell. It added that the state should implement its authority through the elected representatives of the people.
The election cell “was aided by General (R) Mirza Aslam Baig who was the Chief of Army Staff and by General (R) Asad Durrani, the then Director General ISI and they participated in the unlawful activities of the Election Cell in violation of the responsibilities of the Army and ISI.”
The apex court moreover ruled that political cells of the ISI and the President House should be abolished and ordered the government to take legal action against former retired generals involved in the corruption as well as against Younus Habib, former president of the now defunct Mehran Bank.
The court further ordered that money that was illegally disbursed among the politicians by the then president and the ISI should be recovered and deposited in the Habib Bank along with the accumulated interest on it. Adding to that, the short order said that legal action should also be taken against the politicians who received the money.
Mr. M. Younas A. Habib, the then Chief Executive of Habib Bank Ltd…arranged/provided Rs.140 million belonging to public exchequer, out of which an amount of Rs.60 million was distributed to politicians,” added the short order.
The ruling further said that Federal Investigation Agency should investigate into the matter, adding that, if evidence was found against anyone, action should be taken against them.
Moreover, the Supreme Court said that political activism was not the domain of the military and the intelligence agencies. Their job is to cooperate with the government, the judgment said