Mehrangate: Durrani, Babar in-camera statements to be declassified

Published: March 14, 2012

Attorney general tells court there is no harm in publicising statements of former ISI chief, former interior minister. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Attorney General of Pakistan told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that there was no problem in declassifying the in-camera statements of former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Asad Durrani and former Interior Minister Major Gen (retd) Naseerullah Khan Babar.

Durrani and Babar had recorded their statements during the hearing of Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan’s petition in 1999.

The Supreme Court hearing the Mehrangate scandal said that a written order to make the report public will be passed during the next hearing.

Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq told the court that there was no issue in declassifying the statements as many things were already public.

However, the court expressed discontentment with the attorney general for not producing the former inquiry commission reports regarding Mehran Bank and Habib Bank.

The attorney general, on failing to produce the documents, told the court that they could not be retrieved as the interior secretary was currently on a foreign trip and the law ministry does not have them either. Responding to which, the Supreme Court sarcastically remarked whether the interior secretary carries the reports in his pockets.

The attorney general sought more time from the court to present the documents.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, heading the three-member bench, remarked that the agencies were not working within their mandate.

During the hearing, Durrani told the court that there were elements outside the ISI who were appointed for the task of distributing money. The chief justice replied that Durrani was holding office at the time when the money was being distributed, how could he deny the involvement of the ISI.

Former chief of Mehran Bank Younis Habib submitted an application in the Supreme Court for the recovery of the money allegedly distributed by the ISI to various politicians in 1990.

In the application, Habib requested that a judicial commission be established for the recovery of the money, while the task can also be assigned to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) which is currently looking into the matter.

SC takes notice of The Express Tribune’s story

The Supreme Court took notice of a news story published in The Express Tribune on Wednesday (Misappropriation: Govt withdrew millions from Intelligence Bureau’s account) claiming that classified documents have revealed that the Pakistan Peoples Party withdrawing Rs270 million from the secret fund of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) – allegedly for pushing its political agenda in Punjab.

The chief justice, while remarking that The Express Tribune is a credible newspaper said that their news would not be inaccurate. He ordered the attorney general to contact the editor, publisher and reporter to assist the court with the hearing and provide the classified documents.

The hearing of the case was adjourned till March 30.

In the previous hearing, the chief justice had asked the attorney general to inquire from the federal government whether the reports were made public or not. If not, the reports should be made available for the court’s use in-camera, the chief justice had said.

The Mehrangate scandal emerged after the Supreme Court began the hearing of air marshal Asghar Khan’s 20-year-old petition in which he stated that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) rigged the 1990 elections by handing out money to several politicians.

Former chief of Mehran Bank Younis Habib appeared before the Supreme Court and had admitted of handing out Rs140 million to various politicians.

Reader Comments (9)

  • Concerned
    Mar 14, 2012 - 10:56AM

    Finally a good move. Court has to prove its really independent and now is the time. All crooks should be sent behind bards and public money should be brought back in the country.

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  • Anserali Khan
    Mar 14, 2012 - 12:40PM

    Please fully investigate and what ever be the consequence

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  • ishrat salim
    Mar 14, 2012 - 2:30PM

    Now both PPP & PML N will join together in a chorus that SC is interfferring in the ” democratic process ” & democracy is in danger…?Recommend

  • WoW
    Mar 14, 2012 - 2:33PM

    If the Generals are found guilty, that amounts to treason.

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  • Mar 14, 2012 - 6:27PM

    After memo gate this gate will also be closedRecommend

  • Mirza
    Mar 14, 2012 - 6:38PM

    Any transparency in this case is only going to help the coalition govt. I would prove that the ISI and all rightwing parties conspired against the secular party to keep them away from winning the elections. It would also prove that the secular goverining coalition parties were not involved in this corruption and stealing of general elections. In fact it was a conspiracy to deprive them of their rightful votes.

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  • zullu
    Mar 14, 2012 - 8:35PM

    A new scandal appears every two months to keep our nation busy………..after some days there will be calls for “Matti Pao te agge chalo”…….

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  • ikram
    Mar 14, 2012 - 11:02PM

    Fat chance someone will be punished. Its all a charade.

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  • Fatima
    Mar 15, 2012 - 7:59PM

    PMLN , JUI, JI, and other such cronies have all lost any moral grounds for even looking people of Pakistan in the eye, rubbish parties led by rubbish leadership that has only indulged in selfish temporary gains at the hands of military, and then they blame military for “interfering” with politics of the nation. What a shamefully despicable situation. One wonders is this the level of morality much prompted by Mian brothers. Tacit agreements with Generals, corruption scandals and now IJI, on which moral grounds PML-N declares itself the popular party.

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