Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Pervaiz A Rasheed – while defending his party’s involvement in the Mehrangate scandal – snubbed allegations that Nawaz Sharif took money from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Speaking to the media outside senate, Rasheed said that the scam was a farce and termed it a mere ‘game’ after former Mehran Bank chief Younis Habib alleged that Nawaz’s party was involved in the scam.
“The people involved in the Mehrangate scandal had either worked for the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) or were given important portfolios by the-then [PPP-led] government,” he alleged. “If there is any evidence [against the Sharif brothers] it should be brought to light.”
Citing a few examples, he named Safdar Abbas Zaidi, Ahsan Muneer and then ISI chief Asad Durrani. “Durrani was made ambassador to Germany by the PPP, who now accuses the PML-N of being involved in the scam.”
Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan’s petition alleges that the ISI rigged the 1990 general elections by distributing millions of rupees among several politicians to damage Benazir Bhutto’s election campaign.
The apex court recently reopened the case with a three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
Rasheed said that there existed “an uncle and nephew like” relationship between the central figure of the Mehrangate scandal and President Asif Ali Zardari. “There is always the option of filing a defamation suit on the allegations levelled against the Sharif brothers.”
Rasheed said that the people who have been blaming the PML-N for involvement in the case have failed to produce any evidence. “Bank account details, receipts and related documents should be presented before the court.”
However, he added that the matter was sub judice and that his party would accept the Supreme Court’s decision.
The PML-N senator added that former president of Mehran Bank Asif Jamshed was given extension in his job tenure by the PPP and a notification in this regard was issued on February 4, 1997.
“We were the ones who reversed the extension of the officials who were illegally designated different jobs by the PPP,” he added.
MQM-H chief names Altaf as beneficiary
MQM-Haqiqi chief Afaq Ahmed claims he was present in the room when General Mirza Aslam Beg gave orders to a business executive to give money to MQM chief Altaf Hussain.
Ahmed, however, said that he will not testify unless he was asked to. “I can go to the Supreme Court to give a statement, but I will not go of my own accord.”
Ahmed said he did not know the exact amount given to Hussain, but said according to his estimates about Rs20 million changed hands. “I took Rs5 million myself from Younus Habib before the ‘93 elections.”
Habib is the former chief of Mehran Bank and a central character in the Mehrangate episode.
According to Ahmed, the MQM chief had approached Beg for funds as Hussain’s party had run out of money. He said it was on Beg’s orders that Habib was called in to the room and asked to release the money.
MQM, in its defence, has denied all allegations of Hussain taking money from any branch of the military. The party is also banking on Colonel Akbar’s interview in which he snubbed all the claims against Hussain and MQM as false.
(WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING FROM KARACHI BY SHAHERYAR MIRZA)
Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2012.