LAHORE: Former chief justice of Pakistan Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui’s statement that the Inter Services Intelligence dished out millions of rupees to different politicians during President Ghulam Ishaq Khan’s regime to manipulate the 1990 elections, followed by Asghar Khan’s demand that the present chief justice should re-open the said case which he had filed in 1996 to take it to its logical end, has dusted off an old controversy, which is set to blemish the democratic credentials of many leading politicians of the country.
Chief justice (retd) Siddiqui told a private TV channel that the ISI was an intelligence agency and it should not interfere in national politics, or be used against politicians. Seasoned politician Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan had gone one step ahead in asking Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry to reopen the case he had filed with the apex court almost 13 years ago with a view to take the culprits to task. His case is pending with the Supreme Court of Pakistan following the November 1997 unceremonious exit of former chief justice Sajjad Ali Shah from his office at the hands of the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The case had originated on June 16, 1996 from a letter by Asghar Khan to the then chief justice Sajjad Ali Shah, asking him to take appropriate action on then interior minister Naseerullah Babar’s statement in the National Assembly. Babar had stated on the floor of the house: “The ISI collected some Rs 140 million from the Habib Bank Ltd and distributed among a number of politicians prior to the 1990 elections with a view to manipulate the results in favour of the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad.” Asghar Khan’s letter was subsequently converted into a constitutional petition (19 of 1996) by the chief justice under Article 184(3), envisaging the human rights jurisdiction of the apex court. According to the petitioner, Asghar Khan, he had sent the first letter with the sole purpose of exposing the role of the ISI in manoeuvring the election results and supporting its favourite politicians to fulfil political ends of the establishment. “You never know how many elections have been rigged and manoeuvred by the ISI in the past,” Asghar had stated in his letter to the CJ, adding the ISI moves since 1988 were actually aimed at defeating the PPP and, therefore, the matter be adjudged and action be taken against those found guilty.
The respondents in the said case were former Army chief Mirza Aslam Beg, Lt-Gen (retd) Asad Durrani, ex-director-general of the ISI Directorate, and Younis Habib, ex-chief of ex-Mehran Bank Ltd, then confined to Central Jail, Karachi. However, the case could not be decided because of the premature dismissal of chief justice Sajjad Ali Shah. He was followed by CJPs Ajmal Mian, Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, Irshad Hasan Khan, Bashir Jehangiri, Shaikh Riaz Ahmed, Nazim Hussain Siddiqui and now Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. Yet, even after a lapse of 13 years, the Human Rights Petition No 19/96 remains shelved as none of the chief justices after Sajjad Shah had dared to invite the wrath of the mighty military and intelligence establishment by reopening the controversial case. In his written reply to the apex court and subsequently reported by the media, Aslam Beg had stated: “More serious damage has been caused to the reputation and the goodwill of the armed forces by Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan in bringing the petition before this Honourable Court and raising an issue before the apex court which of course would receive great publicity and would cause greater damage by scandalisation in the media… That dragging the ex-service chief to the courts on a letter may be detrimental to the prestige, honour and dignity of the institution he has once represented. That Asghar Khan has approached this august court with ulterior motives and his representation is based on mala fides.”
Beg had stated in his written reply to the apex court: “That in early September , Mr Younis Habib, then serving in the Habib Bank Ltd as Zonal Chief, had called on the answering respondent [Beg] and informed him that he was under instructions from the President’s [Ghulam Ishaq] Election Cell to make available a sum of Rs 140 million for supporting the elections of 1990.
“That in 1990 the National Assembly of Pakistan was dissolved and the government of Ms Benazir Bhutto was dismissed. A caretaker government was formed to hold elections within 90 days. The then president, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, had formed an Election Cell directly under him managed by Roedad Khan/Ijlal Haider Zaidi. That later on, the answering respondent was informed by Director-General, ISI, that various accounts were opened and the amount of Rs 140 million was deposited in those accounts directly by Younis Habib. Director-General, Inter Services Intelligence, made arrangements to distribute these amounts amongst the politicians belonging to various political parties and persons as instructed by the Election Cell.”
The petition further stated: “That in 1975, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the then prime minister, had created a Political Cell within the ISI organisation. As a result, the ISI was made responsible to the chief executive, i.e. the prime minister/president for all matters of national and political intelligence. The receipt of this amount by ISI from Younis Habib in 1990 was also under the directions of the Chief Executive. DG ISI also informed the answering respondent that funds so received were properly handled and the accounts were maintained and that Ghulam Ishaq was briefed by him on this matter.
“That during this period, in his meeting with President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, the answering respondent had informed him about the donations made by Younis Habib and its utilisation by DG ISI under the instructions of the Presidentís Political Cell. That the petitioner has made the following allegations : (a) actions of Gen Mirza Aslam Beg and Lt-Gen Asad Durrani amounted to gross misconduct; (b) both have brought the armed forces of Pakistan into disrepute; (c) both have been guilty of undermining the discipline of the armed forces. That these allegations are false, based on mala fide, and unfounded. That DG had ISI acted within the limits of the ‘lawful command’ received from the President’s Election Cell. Definition of lawful command as interpreted by Pakistan Army Act Section 33 Note b(3) is: ‘A superior can give a command for the purpose of maintaining good order or suppressing a disturbance or for the execution of a military duty or regulation’, and Pakistan Army Act Section 33 Note b(11): ‘A civilian cannot give a ‘lawful command’ under this sub-section to a soldier employed under him; but it may well be the soldier’s duty as such to do the act indicated. That the actions of the respondent and Lt-Gen Asad Durrani did not amount to gross misconduct and the orders were carried out under a lawful command.”
Afterwards, a former ISI DG, Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani, had conceded in an affidavit submitted to the FIA that his political cell received Rs 140m from Younis Habib for distribution among the anti-PPP politicians at the behest of Aslam Beg. (The News)
PML-N warns of long march if Musharraf ‘not fixed’
Saturday, August 29, 2009 Says ISI money matters can’t undermine Nawaz’s popularity; threatens protest if vilification against its leader doesn’t stop ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz said on Friday it could go for a Long March to ensure former president Pervez Musharraf was punished.
Addressing a news conference, PML-N Secretary Information Ahsan Iqbal on Friday said that character assassination of the party chief Nawaz Sharif could in no way deter the PML-N’s struggle for the supremacy of the Constitution, parliament and Musharraf’s trial under Article 6.
He said: “We succeeded to get the deposed judges reinstated despite the fact that democracy had not yet strengthened its root in the country at that time. This time too, we would make firm efforts to get our constitutional demands fulfilled,” said the information secretary.
He said the issue of Karachi operation was being trumpeted by those who afraid of Nawaz’s increasing popularity, adding that if such malicious campaign was not stopped, the N-League reserved the right to protest in as well as outside the Parliament.
The party leader said the November 3, 2007 steps were not protected under the Constitution, so it was essential that the person who took such steps must be tried. Ahsan Iqbal said the matter of giving money to political leaders by the secret agency could not undermine Nawaz’s popularity and people elected him despite such maligning drive. He told the media that the military operation in Swat got appraisal from all circles and if this operation had been carried out by dictator, it could have never won such praise. (The News)
In the ring
Thursday, August 27, 2009 The hand of the so-called ‘establishment’, that shadowy entity comprising the army, the bureaucracy and the agencies among other forces, has long been a part of politics in Pakistan. The coming and going of governments, the downfall of individuals and all kinds of other events are attributed to it. But today, we apparently find this powerful entity locked in what appears to be an internal dilemma. According to a report in this newspaper and rumours that drift across Islamabad’s leafy avenues, elements within the establishment are engaged in an all-out effort to discredit Nawaz Sharif, a man whose political career is said to have begun with the support of the same lobby. The purpose appears to be to save former president Musharraf from trial – and possibly by exposing or threatening to expose misdeeds from the past – pressurising Sharif to abandon the strident position he has taken on the issue. It has been alleged that key figures have attempted to use the media to advance their stance and that a Karachi-based political party is also being used for the same purpose.
The tussle is a fascinating one in many ways. The PML-N, which insists it will not back down, has for the first time come up directly against those with whom it is said, in the past, to have worked with hand in glove. The accounts also suggest that as many suspect, the army is indeed keen to save a former chief and by doing so keep intact the notion that the men who wear khaki cannot be touched and ride above the law of the land. There have been some suggestions that Nawaz Sharif may still have supporters in powerful places who are willing to back him against Musharraf – thus opening up a distinct divide.
As has happened before, such events also act to throw light on some of the more murky deeds in our history. Sadly these are many. The continued lack of access to information means that truths about corruption rackets or other equally dark deeds rarely surface unless somebody wants to throw back the dust covers and expose such goings-on, to serve their own purposes. As such, there is a possibility, as the power struggle hinged around Musharraf continues, that more facts may emerge from the past. These could help satisfy curiosity and give the public more information about leaders. The risk though of course is that accuracy will be lost amidst the effort to score points. It is impossible for the present to predict who the winner will be in the ongoing tussle. But what it does underscore is the powerful role the establishment still plays in our set-up and how difficult it indeed is to distance the military from events in the political sphere. (The News)
60 MQM men buried in Margalla hills in 1997: Shujaat
Thursday, August 27, 2009 ISLAMABAD: PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Husain has disclosed that at least 60 activists of the MQM were buried in the Margalla Hills of the Federal Capital in 1997.
Talking to a TV channel on Wednesday, he said the said activists, apprehended from Karachi, were shifted to Islamabad, where they were tortured to death and later buried in the Margalla Hills. No investigations of any sort were held regarding the killing of the detainees.”
Chaudhry Shujaat further disclosed: “I was Federal Interior Minister at that time, but Chairman Accountability Bureau Saif-ur-Rahman was more influential than me. The map, which the law-enforcement agencies exposed, has no reality.
Responding to a query, he elucidated that trial for the former dictator Pervez Musharraf would not be held. Shujaat said he was personally not in favour of presenting the resolution in the House. The incumbents, as at this juncture of time, should focus their attention to relieve the masses from prevailing energy and commodity crisis, instead of indulging in dead issues.
The PML chief said the political leadership of the country was taken into confidence in connection with the 1992 military operation in Karachi. The federal cabinet was also not briefed before the military operation in Karachi, he said.
The PML-Q leader expressed his anger that the issues of 1992 military operation and ‘Jinnahpur’ were being aired at this particular time to divert the attention of the masses from prevailing crisis.
Meanwhile, the spokesman for the PML-N, Siddiq-ul-Farooq, while refuting the allegations levelled by Chaudhry Shujaat, emphasised that the PML-N chief had nothing to do with any sort of genocide during his both the tenures.
Farooq said Chaudhry Shujaat Husain was federal interior minister in 1997 and should have resigned from his office, if he had any moral courage, over the ëkilling of 60 activists of the MQM in the Federal Capital. (The News)
Chief politicians embezzle donation money in Ishaq era
KARACHI: According to the sworn undertaking of ISI’s former chief Lieutenant General (rtd) Asad Durrani, which he took before Supreme Court (SC) on July 24, 1994, that he was instructed in September 1990 by the then Chief of Army Staff (COAS), the former General Mirza Aslam Baig for provision of Logistic Support to embezzle money donated for election preparations from some Karachi traders and use the same donation money for Islami Jamhuri Ittehad (IJI) party.
Asad Durrani was told that the instructions to misappropriate donation money were backed by the then government of Pakistan, according to his affidavit statement before SC.
Subsequently, in pursuit of the instructions he received, he was forced to open some fake bank accounts in Karachi, Quetta and Rawalpindi while one donator from Karachi, by the name Younis Habib, deposited as much as 140 million rupees and the money from all accounts were transferred to other places according to the need for extension of logistic support to IJI party while the remaining money was transferred to a special fund, his sworn statement added.
His statement further added, Rs10 million were given to Mir Afzal in NWFP province, Rs3.5 million to Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in Punjab, Rs5.6 million to Lieutenant General (rtd) Rafaqat for advertisement on media, Rs5 million to Jamat-e-Islami, Rs1 million to Begum Abida Hussain, Rs0.5 million to Altaf Hussain Qureshi and Mustafa Sadiq, Rs3.3 million to small groups, Rs5 million to Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi in Sindh, Rs5 million to Jam Sadiq, Rs2.5 million to Muhammad Khan Junejo, Rs2 million to Pir Pagara, Rs0.3 million to Molana Salahuddin, Rs5.4 million to small parties, Rs1.5 million to Humayun Muree, the son-in-law of Bugti, Rs4 million to Jamali, Rs1 million to Kakar, Rs0.7 million to Jam Yousuf, Rs0.5 million Bazinjo and Rs1 million were given to Nadir Mengal. (The News)
It is pertinent to mention that the value in rupees of 12 grams of gold was Rs33 at the time when money was misappropriated while it stands at Rs29,000 today. (The News)
Nawaz Kush Campaign and Fauji Chooran – By Rashid Murad:
Some relevant comments: Source: pkpolitics
Now NS claiming that 92 operation was done without his permission. What the hell? He was the Prime Minister of PAKISTAN not PUNJAB.
Kargil done without his knowledege..92 operation done without his permission. Was Qarz Utaro Mulk Sanwar and Dollar Freeze also done without his knowledge…bhola !!
I totally disagree the ‘quaidabad’ issue is of headline importance. This was clarified way back in 92 soon after the accusation was made.
Brig. Imtiaz’s bringing it up yet again, at this time, is nothing but a typical red herring to distract from the genuine issue of MQM’s terrorism, and the inquiries it now faces. It is also being used to somehow weaken Nawaz Sharif, who appears unstoppable in gaining popularity. It suits, and has always suited, the establishment not let any one political party or leader become very strong. Keep them all weak, thereby keeping own hold on country.
There can be NO other purpose in bringing up such a non issue at this time, and sending all the talking heads spinning into this rat hole.
Amir Hameed said:
@Gul, Re: your post above, I tend to disagree with you. We need to highlight the role of intelligence agencies in weakening the political structure of this country. Hamid Gul has also issued a statement recently where he has indicated how the agencies were involved in forming IJI. The bottom line is that agencies need to stay out of the political structure, period.
I agree with you a 100% on the need to struggle against agencies’ role in preventing Pakistan from ever acquiring a strong democratic dispensation.
Where I don’t agree is that this dead issue, a red herring, will do that. As I said, the fact that there never was such a map was very much contradicted and clarified very shortly after the claim was made. Beating this idiotic and long failed, long disproven claim, NOW, is meant to serve purposes entirely different form highlighting agencies’ role in the past or the present.
Amir Hameed said:
@sacheebat, …unless politicians or parties are involved in anti-Pakistan or other illegal activities…
That is fine but it is related to treason and not the political structure. Agencies’ role should be to protect the country, both from inside and outside threats, BUT not to interject their influence in the political structure.
@Gul, Re: this being a dead issue; Altaf Hussain’s speech in India should also be a dead issue because we all know that it DID happen but we beat this dead horse every single chance we get. In the context of Jinahpur, I do not see any reason why we should not discus a) who orchestrated it, meaning where did the orders come from? b) why was it done? c) What was the role of the-then government?
These are all legitimate questions and should not be put under the cover. People have the right to ask and to know the truth.