ISLAMABAD  -   The Supreme Court on Monday directed Ministry of Defence to submit its progress report on inquiry against retired army officials allegedly involved in distributing money to politicians to block victory of Pakistan People’s Party in 1990s general elections.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed granted four weeks time to the ministry for submission of the report.

The bench after hearing the matter regarding implementation of top court’s 2012 judgment in Asghar Khan Case declared that the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) report will be viewed along with the MoD’s report as to whether the judgment is implemented or not.

FIA in its report had sought top court's guidance and help on how to proceed with the probe.

The case was initiated in 1996 on the letter of Air Marshal (r) Asghar Khan to Supreme Court wherein it was alleged that army allegedly doled out millions of rupees to buy loyalty of politicians and public figures to manipulate and manoeuvre 1990s general elections against PPP.

On the report of FIA, Justice Ahmed observed that the agency seemingly has shown its inability.

During the proceedings, the bench was informed that the process of inquiry against retired officers is underway.

Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Anwar Mansoor Khan was confronted with the bench’s query as to whether the action for court martial of involved retired army officer has been initiated.

The AGP responded that the matter will proceed after the inquiry is completed.

During the proceedings, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) London Chief Altaf Hussain was also discussed.

Justice Ahmed questioned that the Asghar Khan case had also mentioned MQM and Hussain in beneficiaries.

He inquired about the absence of representation of Hussain in the court, adding his name is also not appeared in FIA report.

The AGP responded that Hussain is abroad and probe can be conducted in this regard as to why he is abroad.

FIA in its 9-page report had cited three reasons due to which the guidance and help from the top court is requested.

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 show 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 (r) 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 a 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 (r) 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 account 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.