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SC seeks details of action

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the attorney general and the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to provide details of the progress made to implement the landmark court verdict in the Asghar Khan case.

In its detailed judgement of Nov 8, 2012, the Supreme Court had ordered the FIA to initiate proceedings against the politicians, including former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who had allegedly been given a total of Rs140 million with the objective of blocking chances of Pakistan Peoples Party`s victory in the 1990 general elections. The court had ordered the FIA to prepare cases for trial in case sufficient evidence was collected against the recipients of the funds.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, also rejected the petitions filed by former army chief retired Gen Mirza Aslam Beg and former director general of InterServices Intelligence (ISI) retired Lt Gen Asad Durrani to review the short verdict passed on Oct 19, 2012 on a petition of retired Air Marshal Asghar Khan, who died on Jan 5, 2018.

In his review petition, Gen Beg pleaded that the findings and observations made against him were incorrect, with the result that his fundamental right to a fair trial asenshrined in Article 10-A of the Constitution and right to the due process of law had been infringed upon.

`No case is made out for review,` the chief justice said while dismissing the review petitions after hearing the former army chief and counsel for the former ISI director general Shah Khawar.

While the federal government, too, had filed a review petition before the Supreme Court only to the extent of the remarks made against the then president (Asif Zardari), it was withdrawn on April 8, 2015.

In the short order, the apex court had directed the federal government to initiate action against them for their role in dishing out Rs140m to the group of politicians.

The 140-page detailed judgement, authored by the then CJP Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, had emphasised that all officers who obeyed unlawful commands were individually liable and in the event of failure of the state authorities to take action, the rights of the people of Pakistan were to be upheld by the Supreme Court.

The verdict had conceded that the 1990 general elections were polluted by doling out Rs140m to a particular group of politicians only to deprive the people of the chance ofbeingrepresented bytheirchosen representatives.

In upholding people`s right, the judgement stated that the apex court could make all necessary directions to the functionaries and institutions of the state including the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Election cell The judgement also held that the President of Pakistan, Chief of the Army Staf f, ISI DG or their subordinates certainly were not supposed to create an `Election Cell` or to support a political party/ group of political parties, because if they did so, the citizens would fail to elect their representatives in an honest, fair and free process of election, and their actions would negate the constitutional mandate on the subject.

According to the verdict, an election cell was established in the Presidency to influence the general elections of 1990. Then COAS Gen Aslam Beg and then ISI DG Lt Gen Asad Durrani participated in the unlawful activities of the election cell in violation of the responsibilities of the army and ISI as institutions, which was an act of individuals, but not of the institution they represented.

The ISI or MI may perform their duties as per laws to safeguard the borders of Pakistan or to provide civil aid to the federal government, but such organisations have no role to play in political activities or politics, for formulation or destabilisation of political governments, nor can they facilitate or show favour to a political party or group of political parties or politicians individually, in any manner, which may lead in his or their success, the judgement states.