ISLAMABAD - The main character in the distribution of millions of rupees among politicians by the prime intelligence agency of the country on Thursday made startling revelations before a three-member bench that heard Asghar Khan’s petition.

Younis Habib, former chief of ex-Mehran Bank Limited, while appearing before the bench on a wheelchair confessed paying Rs 348 million on the orders of former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan and ex-COAS (Chief of Army Staff) Aslam Beg.

Younis submitted a three-page affidavit and claimed it be considered as a classified document. However, the bench after going through the statement said it did not fall within the propose category. Justice Khilji Arif Hussain said: “Since the looted money belonged to the people of the Pakistan; therefore, they should know facts.”

Younis then read out the contents of the affidavit in court and sought unconditional apology from the Supreme Court, but said: “Whatever I did have done in the name of so-called supreme national interest and became victim of it himself; as I spent four years in prison.”

He said out of the Rs 348 million, around Rs 140 million were distributed by Aslam Beg, while some money was given to the army’s welfare schemes. He said ISI Col Akbar had some bank accounts, while Brig Hamid Saeed supervised the overall process.

The former banker stated that he had first meeting with Beg at the residence of Brig Islam.

“Later, Gen (r) Beg and I frequently talked to each other. In March 1990, Beg told me that Ghulam Ishaq Khan (GIK) wanted me to talk and arrange Rs 348 million. Few months later Beg invited me to a ceremony of Col Commandant Sindh Regiment where I was treated like the chief guest.”

Younis told the court that money was disbursed from the Habib Bank, then a nationalised entity, while he was an executive and senior vice-president and also provincial chief of the said bank. But the case was scandalised as Mehran Bank despite the fact that it had not been formed yet.

He said one day Gen (r) Beg phoned and said President Ishaq wanted to meet him. “I was asked to arrange the money in the greater national interest,” adding that it was not possible through legal means; therefore, they resorted to manipulation.

“GIK asked me whatever you do it for the national cause. I was also told to make arrangement by hook or crook.”

The money was allegedly paid to form Islami Jamhoori Ittihad (IJI) to contest the 1990 general elections against the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

Younis also said that Roedad Khan pressurised him to lodge a complaint against Asif Ali Zardari in the Fozi Ali Kazim case, but he refused to do so.

He said he was arrested and detained by the FIA for five to six days when he reached Karachi, where Ajlal Haider Zaidi visited him, adding that he was granted bail courtesy Jam Sadiq, former Sindh chief minister.

An amount of Rs 150 million was provided to Jam Sadiq for the licence to establish the Mehran Bank, he added.

Asghar Khan in his petition alleges that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) rigged the 1990 polls by distributing millions of rupees among several politicians to harm Benazir Bhutto’s campaign.

Former ISI chief Lt-Gen (r) Asad Durrani informed the court that he could not recall whether he was cross-examined by the court earlier or not?

“The available record indicates that you were cross-examined by the court during an in-camera hearing around 13 years before,” the chief justice said.

Durrani told the court that the ISI was not involved in the case (it was his individual act), to which the chief justice said it was not up to him to decide the matter. “We will fix the responsibility and decide the matter after hearing,” he added.

The chief justice asked Durrani that he should appear before the court well-prepared on Friday in view of his affidavit and a letter written to former premier Benazir Bhutto.

The court also asked Younis whether Interior Minister Rehman Malik had interrogated him as the FIA official, to which he replied that a CD was in possession of Malik that could provide complete details of the episode.

He further told the court that Yousaf Memon, an official of the bank, could provide details of the distributed money.

Justice Tariq Pervaiz questioned how an indirect beneficiary of the case could give exact details.

The court noted Habib’s statement was not taken sworn on oath and observed that although the statement or affidavit was required to be sworn under the Supreme Court Rules 1980. But because of his ailment, they accepted the affidavit and directed the office to manage attestation of the same.

Onset of the hearing, the SC office placed on record two sealed envelopes, with one mentioned as ‘Top Secret’ ‘Report of the Commission to review the Working of Security and Intelligence Agencies’. The envelope was opened in court, which contained four folders Part-II Report of the Commission to Review the Working of Security and Intelligence Agencies (March-1989); Part-III (Correspondence); again Part-II (photocopy of the same report of the Commission (March-1989); and again Part-III (Correspondence). A perusal of the same indicates that the Report of the Commission to Review the Working of Security and Intelligence Agencies has not been filed. However, Commodore Director (Legal) Muhammad Hussain Shahbaz representing Ministry of Defence is allowed to go through these documents in the office of Registrar of the court, who shall facilitate him in the behalf. He is directed to file the requisite reports pertaining to the year 1990 as well as up-to-date reports on the working of security and spy agencies. In the interest of nation, these documents shall be kept ‘confidential’.

The other envelope contained un-signed statements/cross-examination of Maj-Gen (r) Naseerullah Babar and Lt-Gen (r) Asad Durrani on 1.6.1999 and the Order dated 2.6.1999 of Justice Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui.

It also included cross examination of Babar by Gen (r) Mirza Aslam Beg, Habib-ul-Wahab-ul-Khairi, Akram Sheikh, explanation of Babar with regard to his cross examination, cross examination of Durrani by Habib-ul-Wahab-ul-Khairi and Babar.

Other content were: Folder with regard to the report of the commission to review the Working of Security and Intelligence Agencies (March-1989) submitted by (i) Air Chief Marshal Zulfiqar Ali Khan (Chairman) (ii) Secretary Interior SK Mahmud (Member), MAK Chaudhry (Member) and Air Commodore Muhammad Yamin (Secretary).

ADO letter No RC/1/89 dated 27.3.1989 addressed to Benazir Bhutto, Prime Minister’s Secretariat by the Air Chief Marshal, Zulfiqar Ali Khan along with its synopsis of the Commissioner’s Report for facility of reference.

The court adjourned the hearing till March 9.