Asghar Khan case: SC issues notices to Nawaz, Aslam Beg and Asad Durrani

Asghar Khan case: SC issues notices to Nawaz, Aslam Beg and Asad Durrani

Islamabad (Staff Report): The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) on Saturday issued notices to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former army chief General Mirza Aslam Beg and former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) DG Lieutenant General Asad Durrani in the Asghar Khan case.

Director General Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the attorney general have also been issued notices to appear before the apex court on August 15.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar will hear the case on Wednesday.

This is pertinent to mention that the Supreme Court issued a 141-page verdict on on October 19, 2012, ordering legal proceedings against Gen (retd) Aslam Beg and Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani in a case filed 16 years ago by former air chief Air Marshal Asghar Khan.

Asghar Khan, who passed away in January this year, was represented in the Supreme Court by renowned lawyer Salman Akram Raja.

Khan had petitioned the Supreme Court in 1996 alleging that the two senior army officers and the then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan had doled out Rs140 million among several politicians ahead of the 1990 polls to ensure Benazir Bhutto's defeat in the polls.

The Islamic Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), consisting of nine parties including the Pakistan Muslim League, National Peoples Party and Jamaat-e-Islami, had won the 1990 elections, with Nawaz Sharif being elected prime minister. The alliance had been formed to oppose the Benazir Bhutto-led Pakistan Peoples Party.

In 1996, Khan had written a letter to the then Supreme Court Chief Justice Nasim Hassan Shah naming Beg, Durrani and Younis Habib, the ex-Habib Bank Sindh chief and owner of Mehran Bank, about the unlawful disbursement of public money and its misuse for political purposes.

The 2012 apex court judgment, authored by the then-Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry, had directed the Federal Investigation Agency to initiate a transparent investigation and subsequent trial if sufficient evidence is found against the former army officers.

On May 7 this year, Supreme Court of Pakistan had rejected review petitions filed by former army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) former chief Gen Asad Durrani against its 2012 verdict in Asghar Khan case, saying both officers would face consequences of their illegal acts.

The SC ruling also has implications for former PM Nawaz Sharif, who had also been accused of receiving money ahead of the 1990 general election. The court also sought a reply from the federal government regarding executing the verdict.

During the hearing, the DG FIA was also summoned to inform the court about progress in the probe. The DG said that 12 accused in the case had died while statements of 18 persons had been recorded. He added that the probe was stopped after review petitions were filed. The FIA head further said that all accused were refusing the fact on receiving funds for election campaigns.

Later, the bench asked the FIA official to inform the court regarding the implementation of the 2012 verdict as review petitions have been turned down.