ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court, while hearing the case pertaining to a decade-old petition filed by Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan, ordered the Ministry of Defence to produce a copy of the notification for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) political cell’s creation in court.
A three-member bench, presided by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was hearing the case regarding the alleged distribution of funds by former chief of army staff Mirza Aslam Baig and ex-ISI chief Asad Durrani, among politicians during 1990 elections to keep away the PPP led by late chairperson Benazir Bhutto from coming into power.
Attorney General Irfan Qadir informed the court that the ISI political cell notification could not be found, adding that no one had any knowledge about it either.
“If no notification was given then how is the cell operating?” remarked Justice Jawwad S Khawaja.
Commander Shahbaz on behalf of the defense ministry, told the court that cabinet division had issued the notification. The court asked him to talk with DG ISI and tell him about the court’s order.
Irfan Qadir informed the court that reply from the law ministry regarding the Habib Bank and Mehran bank commission reports had been received. The court directed Secretary Law, Yasmin Abbasi, to find all documents regarding the Habib Bank scandal submitted by Justice (Retd) Chaudhry Muhammad Ilyas, who was heading the commission that could not complete its work because then sectary law and the incumbent judge of the Supreme Court Saqib Nisar did not give extension to the commission and the question regarding the authenticity of the commission report presented by a journalist Hamid Mir.
The court said that it would examine the report of Rs270 million in a sealed envelope submitted by the Intelligence Bureau.
On the court’s order, the attorney general read the list of political parties and individuals who allegedly received money from the ISI.
The bench asked Durrani to present evidence and affidavits in favour of his stance, adding that the list of recipients did not seem accurate.
Durrani replied that he prepared this list based on his memory, therefore, might contain inaccuracies.
But he said that ISI officials, now retired, could tell the break up along with their affidavits.
The court gave Durrani two weeks to gather evidence. Durrani, however, was not sure whether he would be able to accomplish the task in the given time.
Former ISI chief Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani informed the apex court that out of the total Rs140 million, Rs60 million was distributed among politicians, adding that initial orders for distribution were given by the then Army Chief General Aslam Beg.
He said that Ajlal Haider Zaidi was head of a special cell created in the President House to monitor this operation and Ghulam Ishaq Khan was the president back then.
Durrani also handed over to the court a sealed envelope containing proof of recipients of the money. Chief Justice Chaudhry remarked that the list provided significant information about the case but said that they “want to bring everything out in the open.”
The chief justice told Durrani that they would issues notices to those who took money if he could produce evidence.
General Beg appeared before the court but his lawyer Akram Sheikh was not present due to medical reasons.
The case was adjourned till the third week of July.