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Pakistan

Web Desk
February 11, 2019

Asghar Khan case: SC orders inquiry against military officers

Pakistan

Web Desk
Mon, Feb 11, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the authorities to complete the probe against military officers involved in Asghar Khan case within four weeks.

A three-member bench of the apex court, comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, took up the case today.

The case relates to distribution of millions of rupees among politicians for manipulating 1990 general elections.

When the hearing resumed, Justice Gulzar remarked that the court would review the FIA report along with the Ministry of Defence response whether the court directives were implemented or not.

During the proceedings, Justice Ejaz ul Ahsan observed that Rs 184 million were disbursed 24 years ago.

The compliance report submitted by the FIA on Saturday sought the court’s help and guidance to collect sufficient evidence for prosecution.

The report stated that efforts had been made to unearth facts and bring the truth to light but investigation had reached a dead end.

On Jan 11, the then chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar after accepting the plea of the family of late Air Marshal (R) Asghar Khan ordered that the matter be fixed for hearing before a bench after his retirement.

It is to be recalled that on Dec 29, 2018, the FIA had suggested the apex court that the case be closed, as it did not have enough evidence to launch criminal prosecution against individuals named in the judgement.

The court, however, was not satisfied with the conclusions reached by the FIA and asked the agency to submit a response to Khan family's joint reply in which they had opposed the suggestion to close the case.

On Saturday, the FIA in its reply submitted that they had left no stone unturned to trace evidence relating to disbursement of alleged money to politicians.

"All important witnesses, including central figure Brig (R) Hamid Saeed Akhtar, were examined. The bank records were scrutinised and the statements of bank officers concerned were also recorded. The politicians were also interviewed,” said the report.

The court was told that the assistance of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Ministry of Defence had also been sought.

It was also submitted that over 190 television programmes had been analysed and the defence ministry had been contacted to provide details required to find necessary evidence. However, investigation could not reach a logical conclusion, as information about the handover of money to any private person directly was not available."

It was further submitted that the documents provided by Brig (R) Hamid Saeed Akhtar showed that money was distributed in Sindh, but he had not disclosed the names of officers who actually distributed the money.

Moreover, it contended that receipts of money being received by politicians, which the brigadier had mentioned, were also not provided to the FIA.

As per the report, Brig Hamid said receipts had been sent to the General Headquarters (GHQ), but when the FIA asked Gen (R) Asad Durrani, he denied having any information about such receipts.

Additionally, the FIA said certain bank account details, which would complete the money trail needed for prosecution, had not been provided.