|Asghar Khan case: Hamid Saeed submits statement|
18 October 2012
ISLAMABAD: As the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) resumed hearing of the Asghar Khan case Thursday, the Ministry of Defence submitted the details of the Inter-Services Intelligence’s (ISI) accounts following the court’s directives while former Military Intelligence (MI) officer Brigadier Hamid Saeed also submitted his statement, Geo News reported.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, continued hearing the petition filed by Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan in 1996 accusing the ISI of financing politicians to manipulate the general elections of 1990 and creating the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) to prevent the PPP from winning the polls.
During today’s proceedings, Hamid Saeed was present in the court to submit his statement. He requested the court to keep the paragraphs 1-8 of his statement confidential while paragraphs 9-14 can be made public. Replying to this, the Chief Justice remarked that it was up to his discretion and he could submit the confidential sections separately.
The attorney general also presented the details of ISI’s accounts and told the court that the details are confidential and cannot be made public. On this, the Chief Justice remarked that these details are already on-record.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja said that Asad Durrani had told that the entire money was not spent and the remaining sum was present in the ISI accounts, and that the required information was not provided.
On Wednesday, Secretary to the President Malik Asif Hayat told the court that no political cell had been working in the Presidency after September 2008, Chief Justice observed had the former army chief resisted the mistakes of 1990, events like that of October 12, 1999 and November 3, 2007 would not have occurred.
The SC directed the Ministry of Defence to submit before it details of a sum of Rs80 million, which was deposited in the ISI accounts. The court also directed the secretary to the president to submit his reply today about the existence of a political cell in the Presidency in 1990.
During the hearing, Akram Sheikh, the counsel for former army chief General (retd) Mirza Aslam Beg, submitted the statement of his client informing the court that an amount of Rs60 million was distributed among the politicians while the remaining Rs80 million was deposited in the ISI account.
Salman Akram Raja, the counsel for the petitioner, told the court that there must be an institutional record regarding the said amount and the Ministry of Defence could provide appropriate information in this regard.
At this, the chief justice asked commander Shahbaz, representative of the Defence Ministry, to inquire from the concerned quarters and submit his reply before the court.
The court had again issued a notice to Hamid Saeed as he could not appear before the court on Wednesday because of illness and directed him to appear before it today.
Former ISI chief General (retd) Asad Durrani had earlier accused Hamid Saeed of having a role in the distribution of money among the politicians. Earlier, Malik Asif Hayat submitted his response to the court stating that there had been no political cell in the Presidency after September 2008.
Hayat said it was possible that an election information cell might have operated from the Presidency in the past. He submitted that the president’s military secretary possessed some files and he would be able to respond to the question once he had reviewed them. The counsel for former General (retd) Aslam Beg also submitted his client’s sworn statement and said there was a political cell in the Presidency.
The counsel further submitted that his client believed there should be no political cell in the Presidency. “President is the symbol of the federation under Article 141 of the Constitution, hence he should not indulge in politics,” he contended.
The chief justice observed that Beg was aware of the IJI funding and the-then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan used to be briefed about the IJI activities. He said that under the Constitution, the president was the head of state, not the chief of a political party, and the-then president’s support for the IJI was a violation of his oath. He said that a head of state should not support any political group.
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