ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Tuesday resolved that it will not close the famous Asghar Khan case, wherein millions of rupees were allegedly doled out to buy loyalty of politicians and public figures to manipulate and manoeuvre 1990s general elections against the Pakistan People’s Party.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan directed the Federal Investigation Agency to submit a supplementary report in the matter.

The FIA has also been directed to point out in its report as to who were managing and operating the involved bank accounts, through which the money was disbursed.

The agency has also been directed to point out in its report the missing record in the case.

The agency has also been directed to submit the evidence of those who received or suspected to have received the amount. The report should also include the names of those who refused to take amount, the top court ruled.

The bench issued the directions after hearing the case pertaining to implementation of top court’s 2012 judgment in the matter.

CJP says the matter will be proceeded in phases

In 1996, Air Marshal Ashgar Khan (late) had filed a human rights application in the top court, accusing the intelligence agency of doling out money to a number of parties and individuals in the 1990s.

He moved the application after late prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s interior minister General (Retd) Naseerullah Babar disclosed in the National Assembly in 1994 that ISI had disbursed funds to buy loyalty of politicians and public figures to manipulate the 1990 elections to bring about the defeat of the PPP.

The top court in its 2012 judgment ruled that the 1990 elections had been polluted by dishing out Rs140 million to a particular group of politicians only to deprive the people of being represented by their chosen representatives.

It had ordered the FIA to initiate proceedings against the politicians including deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was allegedly facilitated by military establishment with Rs140 million to block PPP’s victory in the 1990 general elections.

During the course of proceedings regarding implementation of the judgment, Director Legal of Ministry of Defence Brigadier Falak Naz, who was directed to submit the progress report regarding the inquiry against retired army officials involved in the matter, informed the bench that ministry’s report has been submitted.  However, the bench observed that the said report is not on the record and directed him to again submit the report.

During the proceedings, Justice Saeed observed that the bench will not follow the way which the FIA wants the top court to take. “We are not going to wrap up the case,” Justice Saeed observed, adding the matter will be proceeded in phases.

During the hearing, Advocate Salman Akram Raja, appearing on behalf of legal heirs of late Asghar Khan, informed the bench that certain individuals have conceded their role in the scam and action should necessarily be taken against them.  The top court while issuing directions to FIA adjourned the hearing till April 22.

In its earlier report comprising 9-page, the FIA had asked the top court to guide the agency on how to proceed with the matter citing three reasons.

The agency had stated that it left no stone unturned to trace the evidence relating to disbursement of alleged money but the intelligence agency team, responsible for distribution of funds in Punjab and elsewhere, could not be ascertained despite writing to MoD asking whereabouts of intelligence agency personnel mentioned in top court’s 2012 judgment.

“No army officer has given any statement of handing over money to any private person directly. Documents provided by Brig Hamid Saeed showed that money was distributed in Sindh but the officers who actually distributed the money were not disclosed by him,” the reply of FIA stated.

Moreover, it added, the receipts of receiving money by the politicians as mentioned by Brig Hamid have not been provided to FIA.

“According to Brig Hamid these receipts were sent to GHQ but upon asking by FIA, General (Retd) Durrani denied having information of any such receipts.”

FIA stated that splitting the investigation for two different agencies is also the reason for not reaching at logical conclusion.

“Since, army/ intelligence officers were primarily responsible in distribution of money to private persons and politicians, therefore, splitting the investigation into two, i.e., army and civil, creates practical difficulties for a civilian agency during investigation.”

It is submitted that all the important witnesses including Brig (Retd) Hamid Saeed were examined and bank records were scrutinised and statements at concerned bank officers recorded while politicians were also interviewed.

Assistance and Information from PEMRA, NAB and MoD was sought and more than 190 television programs were analysed.

“Ministry of Defence was contacted to provide information regarding the details required to find necessary evidence,” the reply stated adding, “certain bank accounts details have not been provided, which would complete the money trail required for prosecution purposes.”

“It is respectfully submitted that FIA has sincerely tried to unearth the facts and bring truth to light but the investigation has reached a dead end for the above-mentioned reasons and it seeks guidance and help from the apex court so that sufficient evidence can be gathered, which can be used for successful prosecution of the case,” FIA pleaded.