ISLAMABAD: The defence ministry has expressed willingness to prosecute a former army chief and his top spy for distributing millions of rupees to anti-PPP politicians in the general elections of 1990.
A senior official has confirmed to The Express Tribune that the defence ministry has submitted a one-page reply in the apex court, wherein it is stated that military authorities are willing to proceed against officers involved in the illegal act.
The military officers known to be involved are former army chief General (retd) Mirza Aslam Beg, former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lieutenant General (retd) Asad Durrani, Brig (retd) Hameed Saeed Akhtar, and Lt Gen (retd) Rafat.
The apex court on June 6 sought written statements from all the politicians who were allegedly given millions of rupees ahead of the general elections of 1990. The attorney general also submitted a list of all the people involved in the matter.
The bench has also issued the notices to politicians and political parties including Nawaz Sharif, Jamaat-i- Islami, Syeda Abida Hussain, Altaf Hussain Qureshi, Maulana Salahuddin, Humayun Marri, Zafarullah Jamali, Kadir Baloch, Sarwar Khan Kakar, Mir Hasil Bizenjo, Nadeem Mengal, Muzaffar Hussain Shah, Ghulam Ali Nizamani, Arbab Ghulam Rahim, Liaqat Jatoi, Imtiaz Sheikh, Jam Mashooq, Jam Haider, Dost Muhammad Faizi, Javed Hashmi and Altaf Hussain.
However, the court asked the defence ministry to submit a reply regarding the ex-army men involved.
Earlier, the federal government, through Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Ashtar Ausaf Ali, also submitted that matters related to military officers would be referred to the military for further action against them.
It was also learnt that the Army Judge Advocate General had also consulted with the AGP office seeking legal advice for action against these retired officers.
Earlier on Tuesday, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar ordered all institutions of the country to cooperate with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in the Asghar Khan case.
A three-member bench led by CJP Nisar passed the order at the Supreme Court’s Lahore Registry while hearing a petition for the implementation of the 2012 judgment in the case.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan were the other members of the bench.
The CJP also passed directions to FIA Director General Bashir Memon to continue work till the conclusion of the investigation. He also directed the defence ministry to fully cooperate with the FIA.
Following the court order, veteran politicians including Javed Hashmi, Ghulam Mustafa Khar, Mir Hasil Bizenjo, Syeda Abida Hussain, former ISI chief Asad Durrani and others appeared before the bench.
The FIA DG told the bench that Sharif and others, including Gen (retd) Aslam Beg, Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani, Abida Hussain, Farid Paracha, Mustafa Khar and Altaf Qureshi had recorded their statement to the agency in the case.
Everyone summoned by the FIA has to appear before it to record statements, the CJP observed.
The CJP reminded Hashmi of his old statement that the chief justice could not win an election even if he contested from his native area, Bhatti Gate. The CJP observed that he was not there to contest elections but to protect the Constitution. Hashmi said he respected him from the core of his heart and pleaded that he suffered in jail for six years during the military rule of Pervez Musharraf.
“Musharraf had to release me as nothing was established against me,” said Hashmi. He also complained that the top court had given Musharraf protection despite the fact that that he violated the Constitution twice. Hashmi said the Supreme Court had also done the same before.
He pointed out that the politicians were being pressurised and the election process was being sabotaged.
At this, the CJP observed that the court only removed possible hurdles for Musharraf to return to the country, and now it was up to him to return and face the law or not. Justice Nisar said he also advised Musharraf to prove his innocence rather than making statements abroad.
Khar also appeared before the bench and said that politicians were only humiliated and stigmatised in the country, and “it is not clear as to who or what is not anti-state”.
The chief justice dispelled the impression that the court was pressurising anyone, or anyone was being targeted. “If you are clean, there is no worry,” he remarked.
Bizenjo said he had nothing to do with the Asghar Khan case. The CJP, however, made it clear that it was not to harass anyone and said that there would be no injustice with anyone.
Hafiz Abdul Rehman Ansari represented the Jamaat-i-Islami and called for ending the role of agencies in politics. At this, the CJP remarked that they would summon any general who committed a crime.
“Politicians should make themselves stronger than the agencies,” the CJP remarked.
The top judge made it clear that no delay would be tolerated in the implementation of the Asghar Khan case verdict and assured the FIA DG that all hurdles in the way of investigation would be removed.
With additional reporting by Rana Yasif in Lahore