The national media is revisiting Mehrangate, involving bribes paid by the ISI under the then army chief, General Aslam Beg, in 1990 for the creation of the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) to foreclose the possibility of the PPP again coming to power after its dismissal by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan.
What has triggered this new media interest in Mehrangate is the latest statement by the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Justice (Retd) Saeeduzzaman Siddiqi that no one among the recipient politicians had denied receiving the bribe. The debate has also been given a fillip by revelations made by the ex-ISI officer and ex-IB chief, Imtiaz Ahmad, about how the army had interfered in, and damaged, the democratic process in Pakistan.
The whole affair started when the PPP’s General (Retd) Naseerullah Babar told the National Assembly in 1994 how the ISI had disbursed funds among politicians to manipulate the 1990 elections, form the IJI, and bring about the defeat of the PPP.
At the summit of power, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan was providing the legal cover. It is his name which was mentioned at the Supreme Court as the Chief Executive who ordered the disbursement.In 1996, Air Marshal Asghar Khan petitioned the Supreme Court against ex-army chief General Mirza Aslam Beg, ex-ISI chief Lt General Asad Durrani, and Younus Habib of Habib Bank and then Mehran Bank, concerning “the criminal distribution of the people’s money for political purposes”.
When the Supreme Court proceeded with the case General Asad Durrani submitted the famous affidavit containing names of the “recipients”.That list is now being brandished on TV channels. From the “best prime minister”, the “best leader of a religious party” to the “most popular political leader in the country”, everyone figures on it. In some cases the sums are so small that it seems ridiculous that our politicians can sell themselves so cheaply. Why should the generals stay put if the lure of “interference” is uncontested by any social and moral restraint? The generals already had power and made money; the politicians wanted power to make money.
Writing in Daily Times (January 22, 2006) columnist Ardeshir Cowasjee revealed a large number of disbursements made from Mehran Bank to General Aslam Beg and his organisation FRIENDS. This was actually a bank account sheet provided to the Court during its initial hearings by General Naseerullah Babar. It also included the fee General Beg had to pay to the lawyer who defended him in a case of contempt against the Supreme Court earlier.
Brigadier (Retd) Imtiaz Ahmad has confessed on a TV channel to having hated the PPP on the basis of his institution’s sense of “national security”. Ms Benazir Bhutto has already revealed in her memoirs how she was not allowed to rule under the Constitution and how General Beg had warned her away from Afghanistan and India policies handled by the army through the ISI. (Extrapolating from the de facto situation, Justice (Retd) Siddiqi was compelled to say on Wednesday that the ISI was a military organisation which should be separated from the civilian government.)
The Mehrangate case is still pending at the Supreme Court. The revelations are tonic for us today as we confront the task of understanding what Pakistan has become over the years. But the TV channels too must draw correct lessons from the information being regurgitated. Is the PPP still a “hated” party? Political accountability is an imperative that the PPP must submit to at all times, but “hatred” of the PPP is not a fair emotion on the basis of which to judge an elected government. Aslam Beg is still good for sound bytes if the PPP has to be pilloried for being an American or Indian “lackey”.
Quoted in Nawa-e-Waqt (August 24, 2009) Gen Aslam Beg said that America used Gen Musharraf against the Taliban, later it bought Baitullah Mehsud, Sufi Muhammad and Ajmal Kasab to fulfil its designs in the region. Is this a fair comment to publish? During a discussion on a TV channel about his handling of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, he defiantly advocated the policy of “outsourcing” the programme.With the passage of time, this mismatch between the thinking of our retired top brass and the survival of the state is becoming clear. We should be careful what lessons we draw from the Mehrangate scandal. *
Asghar still awaiting SC verdict on agencies’ role
LAHORE: Tehreek-e-Istiqlal founder and former Pakistan Air Force (PAF) chief Air Marshal (r) Muhammad Asghar Khan on Thursday said he had been writing letters to chief justices of the Supreme Court since 1996 to seek a ruling on the issue of intelligence agencies funding politicians and the agencies’ role in politics. Talking to a private TV channel, the former air chief said none of his letters to the Supreme Court chief justices had elicited a response, adding that real democracy could not be established in the country without ending interference by the intelligence agencies in politics. He said the Inter-Services Intelligence covertly funded some political parties, adding he had also written to former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf in 2002, asking him to ensure that the intelligence agencies’ role in politics comes to an end. The former PAF chief added that the government should ensure that the intelligence agencies no longer play any role in the country’s politics. He said those who funded the politicians should also be brought to justice. daily times monitor
‘Midnight Jackal’ was launched to overthrow Benazir: Imtiaz
Daily Times Monitor
LAHORE: Former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief Brigadier (r) Imtiaz said Operation Midnight Jackal was launched to topple Benazir Bhutto’s government, Dunya TV reported on Thursday.
Talking to the channel, he said the operation was not a big issue, but the politicians had politicised it.
He revealed that General (r) Aslam Beg, the army chief at the time, wanted to bring a change in the National Assembly through a no-confidence motion with the help of Operation Midnight Jackal, as General Beg believed that Benazir Bhutto’s policies were contrary to those of the army. He said General Beg did not agree to Benazir’s Afghan policy. The former IB chief said after Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as prime minister, General Beg and then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan had discussed at length the possibility of replacing her, adding that the operation was also launched for that reason.
Brigadier (r) Imtiaz said his major mistake was his failure to refuse to obey General Beg’s orders. During a subsequent inquiry, General (r) Hameed Gul advised him not to speak against the army chief as that could raise questions about the army, he maintained. Brigadier (r) Imtiaz told the channel that he was retired on the directions of General (r) Naseerullah Babar.
General (r) Asif Nawaz Janjua had suspected Imtiaz of tapping the former’s phone calls, the ex-IB chief said. Imtiaz said stayed quiet throughout his service since he did not want his institution defamed. He said president Ghulam Ishaq had offered him to join his “gang” and offered him privileges, as a cold war for power was raging between Nawaz Sharif and the then president. He said he had been meeting both the leaders and tried bring them together.
The former IB chief said he was also blamed for convincing General (r) Akhtar Abdul Rehman to join then president Ziaul Haq on the flight to Bahawalpur at the eleventh hour, whereas the names of those going to Bahawalpur had already been finalised in the General Headquarters.
Some relevant comments:
Asghar Khan’s petition on Army’s ISI’s role in making of IJI and a similar petition by Aradsher Kawasji is pending in supereme court for past 20 years. The million dollar question is that the current ‘independent’ judiaciary will take that case now to undo all the injustices done against PPP by army, establishment and ISI or they will play the same dirty role that Moulve Mushtaq, Naseem Hasan Shah, Sajjad Ali Shah, Anwar Al Haq etc played in the past. If article 6 has to be applied then it should start from past.
“Zardari is enjoying woman and wine in china and UK and USA and intelligence agencies have complete details”
What is the proof? This kind of naked and shameless lies r not new. If agencies would have anything against Zardari they would have used it by now. For past 20 years they r doing one sided character assasination but could not bring anything as a proof. In contrast these agencies are admitting that they bribed Jamaat Islami and NS for making IJI and also Imran Khan for supporting Mush in his first three years of Martial Law.
N-League is today’s biggest anti-establishment party (after signing maafi nama). Since when they started to care about army?? They want true democracy in the country. They want army’s role to end in the politics, then why are they using doctrine of necessity?
If army intervenes in Musharraf case, do a long march. N-League is an anti-establishment party with 79% popular support. darr kiss baat kaa hai???
qadam barhao nawaz shareef
hum tumharay saath hein
yaa phirr N-League kee mardaana taqat kaa raaz ISI kee funding mein chupaa hai??
Whatever it may be, why scared of army? why nazarya-e-zaroorat?? present a bill in the parliament, if army intervenes, then
or do a million march with “thousands” of people