The federal investigative agency (FIA) has recommended the closure of the Asghar Khan case before the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) for lack of conclusive evidence. The top court, however, wants the assistance of the heirs of the late Asghar Khan regarding the future course of action in the case. If the legal heirs of Asghar Khan do not want to pursue the case, it is highly likely then that the apex court will accept the recommendation of the FIA. The closure of the case will have far-reaching consequences on the political and democratic culture of the country.

First of all, the closure of the case will mean that the non-political actors that carry the reputation of entities that undermine democracy and its norms will find further encouragement. While the honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Mian Saqib Nisar argues that no one can tamper upon democracy while he is in the office, the closure of the case will add to the long list of cases pursued against the military for their political misadventures which came to nothing. Given the current debate over selective accountability, the case’s closure would only serve to highlight the disparities and further exacerbate the conflict.

Granted that the initiation of proceedings against the beneficiaries is impossible on the grounds of insufficient evidence against them, few names can be tried. For instance, Asad Durrani, the former ISI chief, quite openly admits everywhere that he disbursed money among politician to undermine the government of the then prime minister (PM) Benazir Bhutto. It would be a point of national embarrassment if such an instance does not garner any consequences.

But the political motivation required to keep the case going seems to be missing. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) – the main victims of the events and the prime supporters of legal action – seem to have little appetite to follow through with it, especially since its opponent in the case – the Pakistan Muslim Leauge-Nawaz (PML-N) is a fellow opposition party in the current political environment.