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Supreme Court rejects FIA’s request to close the Asghar Khan case

January 11 , 2019

The Supreme Court rejected on Friday the FIA’s request to close the Asghar Khan case.

A two member bench, comprising Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, ruled that the case will continue.

Six of 10 politicians involved in the Asghar Khan case have died, FIA Director General Bashir Memon informed the court. He said the others have refused to provide their written statements.

He said the FIA’s mandate was a criminal investigation and that it had to investigate the 10 politicians named in the case.

A big part of the late Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan’s life went into this case, remarked Justice Nisar. This court is standing with Asghar Khan’s family, he said, adding that it will not let his fight go in vain. His family approached the court on Thursday against the FIA’s request to close the case due to lack of evidence.

No matter what, the Asghar Khan case should be investigated, said the top judge.

Related: What’s next in the Asghar Khan case?

When the time for the actual investigation has begun, you are saying there are roadblocks, he told the FIA. “The FIA says it doesn’t have evidence,” he observed. The court has not closed the case, he said.

Is there no other way to implement the court’s order, asked Justice Nisar. He asked the lawyers to advise the court on how to proceed with the investigation. The court doesn’t want an investigation against only two officers, he cautioned.

The petitioner’s lawyer said they don’t know what progress there is with the army’s investigation into the case. We have no access to what goes on behind the army’s closed doors, said Salman Akram Raja.

He said the statement of the army officer who allegedly distributed the money was not taken. He requested the court to form an investigation team.

In 2012 the verdict in this case came, said Justice Nisar. The then chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, told me that the ruling was historic, he added.

He directed the defence secretary to appear before the court to inform it of what progress has been made in the case. Every institution is answerable to the court, he warned.

The hearing was adjourned till January 25.

The case

The case, filed in June 1996 by Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan, who passed away on January 5 this year, involved allegations that money was distributed by the ISI to politicians to create the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad and stop the PPP from coming into power in 1990. The air marshal had said an alliance of nine parties, including the PML, National Peoples Party and Jamaat-e-Islami, received money from the ISI before the 1990 elections.

The funds were allegedly provided by Younus Habib, the then chief executive officer of Habib Bank Limited (HBL), which was a government-run bank at the time.

Related: PM Khan wants to know why FIA requested court to close the Asghar Khan case

He claimed Nawaz had allegedly received Rs3.5 million, Mir Afzal Khan Rs10 million, Lt Gen Rafaqat Rs5.6 million (for distributing money among journalists), Abida Hussain Rs1 million, the JI Rs5 million and senior journalist Altaf Hussain Qureshi Rs500,000.

The FIA had launched its investigation into the case at the end of 2013, almost a year after the Supreme Court ordered an investigation into the distribution of Rs140 million to thwart the PPP, which was then led by Benazir Bhutto.

On August 11 of this year, the Supreme Court asked the FIA to submit a progress report in the case. It had issued notices to the respondents, including former premier Nawaz Sharif.

On June 9, Nawaz and JI head Sirajul Haq submitted their written replied in the case. Rejecting the allegations that his party received Rs3.5 million from the ISI in 1990, Nawaz said he did not receive any money from the agency to run the election campaign.

 


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