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No political cell working in ISI, ministry tells SC

04 October, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: The Defence Ministry in its reply submitted to the Supreme Court, on Wednesday, maintained its stated stance that there was no political cell in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

This was stated before a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry which has been hearing the 1996 petition filed by Asghar Khan. The petitioner had accused the ISI of financing politicians in the 1990 elections by dishing out Rs 140 million to them to create the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) and prevent Benazir Bhutto's PPP from winning the polls.

The chief justice said that if the court gives a judgement in the case the matter would be referred to the executive for its implementation, however, the government was not complying with the court's orders. At the outset of the hearing, Commander Shahbaz submitted a reply on behalf of the Defence Ministry in pursuance of court orders, saying no political cell was in operation in the ISI.

He told the bench that that Defence Ministry had confirmed the information with the intelligence agency before submitting its response. The chief justice directed him to submit the statement relating to non-existence of political cell in the ISI duly signed by the defence secretary. Chief Justice Iftikhar, however, cited a letter which, he said, was submitted before the court on June 26, 1997, stating that a political cell was functioning within the ISI.

The court showed annoyance over the absence of interior and defence secretaries, and summoned both of them. Commander Shahbaz explained Defence Secretary Lt Gen (r) Asif Yasin Malik's absence by saying that he was conducting a survey of the airport. The chief justice observed that the Defence Ministry was not taking the matter seriously enough and did not understand what it meant to appear before a court.

Meanwhile, Salman Akram Raja, counsel for Asghar Khan, alleged that ISI had disbursed money for political purpose and that the ISI officials had breached their oaths. The bench adjourned the hearing of the case until today (Thursday).

End.

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