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Former ISI Chief-COAS quizzed by FIA

17 May, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Former chief of army staff Gen (r) Mirza Aslam Beg and former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen (r) Asad Durrani were on Wednesday quizzed by a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) committee tasked with the implementation of the Asghar Khan case verdict.

Gen (r) Beg first appeared before the investigators along with the relevant documents, followed by Lt Gen (r) Durrani. Both the generals were quizzed over their involvement in the distribution of money among certain politicians during the 1990 general elections.

The FIA had on Tuesday constituted a committee for proceedings into the Asghar Khan case. The committee is being headed by Ahsan Sadiq, a grade 21 officer of the FIA. Dr Usman Anwar, Dr Rizwan and FIA Director Law Ali Sher Jakhrani are members of the committee.

The case had resurfaced recently when a Supreme Court bench expressed dissatisfaction at the lack of progress considering the apex court had in 2012 ordered action against both military officials as well as the politicians who received money from them.In a 2012 order, the federal government had been directed to take action – within the bounds of the 1973 Constitution and the law – against Beg and Durrani for their role in ‘facilitating’ a group of politicians and political parties in the 1990 elections.

In 1996, Asghar Khan had written a letter to the then Supreme Court chief justice Nasim Hassan Shah naming Beg, Durrani and Younis Habib, the former Habib Bank Sindh chief and owner of Mehran Bank, about the unlawful disbursement of public money and its misuse for political purposes.The case was initiated by the air marshal after Benazir Bhutto’s interior minister, Naseerullah Babar, had disclosed in the National Assembly in 1994 how the ISI disbursed funds to purchase the loyalty of politicians and public figures so as to manipulate the 1990 elections, form the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) and affect the defeat of the PPP.

The petition alleged that the two senior army officers and the then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan had doled out Rs140 million among several politicians ahead of the 1990 general elections to ensure Benazir Bhutto’s defeat in the polls. Close to 16 years after the petition was filed, the Supreme Court in a judgement penned by then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had ruled that the 1990 general elections had been polluted by dishing out Rs140 million to a particular group of politicians only to deprive the people of being represented by their chosen representatives.The court had, however, thrown the ball back to the then PPP government by directing it to take necessary action under the constitution and law against Beg and Durrani for their role in rigging the 1990 elections.

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