SC makes Presidency party in Asghar Khan case
05 October, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Hearing the Asghar Khan case regarding distribution of money by the ISI among anti-PPP politicians, the Supreme Court accepted the request of Khan's counsel for impleading the Presidency in the case and issued notice to the principal secretary of the president to appear on October 15.
The court directed the registrar office to send a copy of this order along with a letter informing the secretary that the president's office has been made party in the case and that copies of pleadings except the classified documents be sent to the president's office with further observation to make arrangements for appearance of the secretary if so advised and desired on the next date of hearing.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has also allowed the application of Roedad Khan and issued him notice.
During the hearing, Salman Akram Raja, the counsel for Asghar Khan, prayed to the court for impleading the office of Presidency in the case in the pursuance of the documents. He argued that various documents showed that in the 1990s, a cell was functioning in the Presidency, and that Roedad Khan and Ijlal Haider Zaidi were in charge of the cell or looking after its affairs, which was being run by former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan.
He further argued it was on record that when Farooq Leghari was the president, some consultation took place between him, Benazir Bhutto and Lt Gen (r) Naseerullah Babar over the affairs of the cell, which was constituted to support an alliance of political parties.
Upon this, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain observed the president should not interfere in politics, as he is a symbol of the state as well as supreme commander of the armed forces. "If the president, being the commander of armed forces, would do politics, then the army, which is under him, will also be compelled to get involved in politics," he said.
The court observed it was therefore necessary to get the president's point of view through his principal secretary. The chief justice noted that Article 41(1) states, "There shall be a President of Pakistan who shall be the Head of State and shall represent the unity of the Republic." Article 243(2) states, "Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provision, the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces shall vest in the President."
The court observed that in view of constitutional provisions, the president's office was very important being a symbol of unity of the Republic of Pakistan, and he cannot undertake such activities in pursuance of his functions.
Defence Ministry Director (Legal) Commander Shahbaz said the deputy attorney general had been engaged to represent the ministry in the case. The court noticed that the DAG, in whose presence the order was passed on Wednesday, was not present in the court. The CJP said the matter had been lingering since 1990.
Interior Secretary Khawaja Siddique Akbar, appearing before the court, submitted a report that the IB is working under Cabinet Division and not the Interior Ministry. In view of this, a notice was issued to the Cabinet Division secretary to certify or otherwise as to whether there is a political cell in the IB. The defence secretary was asked to submit the certificate and statement that there is no political cell in the agencies. The case was adjourned until October 15.