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.