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Sci-Tech

AFP
July 24, 2014

Asghar Khan case probe halted by FIA

Sci-Tech

AFP
Thu, Jul 24, 2014
ISLAMABAD: The probe into the Asghar Khan case by the FIA, ordered by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, has been halted by the present government.
Sources told The News that this move was aimed at saving the relations between the civilian and military leadership from getting further soured.“In the present atmosphere, it was inadvisable to go ahead with the probe, so it was decided to stop it,” a well-placed source said.
After having faced tough opposition from the military establishment on the Musharraf trial, the Nawaz Sharif government appears to have made up its mind to submit to the wishes of the military establishment even if there is a compromise on the rule of law or it involves a violation of the Supreme Court’s decision.
This development in the Asghar Khan case probe has improved the chances of Gen Musharraf’s possible exit from Pakistan to escape the high-treason trial and other serious cases of criminal nature.
Although, Musharraf’s trial was also the consequence of the Supreme Court’s order and a symbol of the rule of law, the military got upset and brought pressure on the Nawaz Sharif government to let Musharraf get off the hook.
It was the Supreme Court of Pakistan that had ruled in 2012 that the 1990 polls were rigged and that criminal proceedings should be initiated against former army chief General (retd) Mirza Aslam Beg and former ISI chief Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani for violating the Constitution by manipulating the 1990 elections.
The then PPP government had decided not to refer the case to the FIA despite the SC’s order because of possible reaction from the military establishment. Some of the PPP ministers had been clearly conveying publicly that they would not dare do it.
However, the PML-N government, which wanted to assert civilian the supremacy and uphold the principle of rule of law, constituted a four-member FIA committee to investigate the distribution of money among ‘favoured politicians’ by the ISI

to rig the 1990 polls.
The FIA committee was constituted in compliance with the Supreme Court’s October 25, 2012 judgment in the infamous Asghar Khan case.The committee started its job. It interviewed several people but has been then asked to halt the probe till the situation become feasible.
In its landmark judgment, the Supreme Court had ruled that there was ample evidence to suggest that the 1990 election was rigged and that a political cell maintained by the then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan supported the formation of the IJI to stop a victory of the PPP.
The ruling said Ghulam Ishaq Khan, General (R) Baig and Lt Gen (R) Durrani violated the Constitution.The Supreme Court had ruled that “the general election held in the year 1990 was subjected to corruption and corrupt practices.”
Moreover, “it has been established that an “Election Cell” had been created in the Presidency, which was functioning to provide financial assistance to the favoured candidates, or a group of political parties to achieve desired result by polluting election process and to deprive the people of Pakistan from being represented by their chosen representatives.” “Late Ghulam Ishaq Khan, the then President of Pakistan, General (R) Aslam Baig and General (R) Asad Durrani acted in violation of the Constitution,” said the apex court order, adding the federal government should take “necessary steps under the Constitution and Law against them.
Stating that corruption was carried out in the 1990 election, the ruling said that the president, the army chief and the ISI’s director-general were not authorised to constitute an election cell.It added that the state should implement its authority through the elected representatives of the people.
The election cell “was aided by General (R) Mirza Aslam Baig who was the Chief of Army Staff and by General (R) Asad Durrani, the then Director General ISI and they participated in the unlawful activities of the Election Cell in violation of the responsibilities of the Army and ISI.”
The apex court had also directed that political cells of the ISI and the President House should be abolished and ordered the government to take legal action against former retired Generals involved in the corruption as well as against Younus Habib, former president of the now defunct Mehran Bank.
The court had further ordered that money that was illegally disbursed among the politicians by the then president and the ISI should be recovered and deposited in the Habib Bank along with the accumulated interest on it.
The order also added that “legal proceedings shall be initiated against the politicians, who allegedly have received donations to spend on election campaigns in the general election of 1990”, and a “transparent investigation on the criminal side shall be initiated by the FIA against all of them.”
The ruling had directed that Federal Investigation Agency should investigate into the matter, adding that, if evidence was found against anyone, action should be taken against them. Moreover, the Supreme Court said that political activism was not the domain of the military and the intelligence agencies. Their job is to cooperate with the government.