Karachi   -   Main character in Mehran Bank scandal and a key accused in the Asghar Khan case, Younus Habib, passed away in Karachi yesterday.

He was 78. According to his son, Tariq Habib, the famed banker - accused of distributing taxpayers’ money among politicians and military officials - was being treated at a private hospital in the city for protracted illness for last two weeks. He breathed his last on Wednesday morning, he said.

His funeral prayer was offered at Masjid Baitussalam in Defence Housing Authority Phase-IV and was later buried at Gizri graveyard. 

Who was Younus Habib?

Younus Habib who was a banker by profession remained head of the Habib Bank of Pakistan and also served at various top positions in banking sector.

He was also the founder of Mehran Bank, which was allegedly involved in financing political parties against PPP, and was later amalgamated with the National Bank of Pakistan.

Younus Habib’s name surfaced in 90s when he was blamed for secretly distributing funds of national exchequer. His life’s journey remained a bumpy ride with once remaining close to powerful military circles and later facing arrest over a misappropriation in the sale proceeds of Dollar Bearer Certificates in which he was convicted of fraud and embezzlement, and sentenced to 10-year rigorous imprisonment in 1995.

His name was also included in Asghar Khan case as an accused for distributing funds for the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) led by Nawaz Sharif, now leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, against the Pakistan People’s Party led by Benazir Bhutto.

The former interior minister and leader of PPP Naseer Ullah Babar on the floor of the assembly in June 1996 had blamed Habib for distributing funds among anti-PPP politicians on the behest of military leaders.  Soon after that, former air force chief Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan also wrote a letter to then-chief justice Nasim Hasan Shah against Gen Beg, Lt-Gen Durrani and Habib for misusing public funds.

The proceedings in the case- famously known as Asghar Khan case- began in the apex court but later faced delay after the coup carried out by the then military ruler General retd Pervez Musharraf.

It however, once again came into limelight when the Asghar Khan in a presser in 2011 along with PTI Chairman Imran Khan demanded the apex court to take up the matter. It was at that time when Younus Habib who remained underground during the past over a decade re-emerged again on the limelight at the apex court to testify in the case on court orders.

He later, in his interviews to the journalists, claimed that he had distributed money among politicians and military officials on the orders of the then military leader General retd Aslam Beg and President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in the larger interest of the nation.

“We arranged an amount of around Rs 350 million to 400 million from Habib Bank to be distributed among politicians to prepare a political force against Pakistan People’s Party led by Benazir Bhutto,” said the former banker in interview.

The key politicians who were named in distribution of money were identified as PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif, the then spiritual leader of Hurs Pir Pagara, two former caretaker Pakistani premiers Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi and Malik Meraj Khalid, former Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Junejo, a former Chief Minister Jam Sadiq Ali, a former President Farooq Leghari and others.

Although Younus Habib passed away on Wednesday, the case in which he claimed funds were distributed on behest of military leaders before 1990s polls is yet to be implemented despite a judgment from the apex court in October 2012 for action against all those involved in it.

The Asghar Khan implementation case in the apex court is underway and the court had refused to shut down the case after the FIA and defence ministry had claimed that no record and evidence was available to proceed against those blamed for distributing and receiving sums.