Former army chief General (retd) Mirza Aslam Beg has made an interesting disclosure before the apex court: The Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is a separate entity which is not under the command of the army chief.
Gen Beg made the disclosure on Wednesday in a written statement submitted before the apex court in connection with a petition filed by former air chief Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan about alleged rigging in the 1990 election.
Maintaining his innocence, Gen Beg blamed the ISI for distributing money among politicians to rig the 1990 parliamentary elections.
The former army chief insisted that he was not directly involved in maintaining accounts and distributing funds during the 1990 elections.
“… In fact, the accounts were maintained by the ISI and (Gen Beg) only instructed then DG ISI Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani to maintain accounts and no misappropriation was ever reported or came to his knowledge,” said the statement.
Gen Beg submitted the statement in compliance with the apex court’s April 25 order asking him to prove his innocence. However, he failed to provide details of the accounts maintained by the ISI, as was requested by the court.
Instead, Gen Beg said that he had already submitted in his concise statement that the money was not placed in the army’s account; rather it was placed in the account of the ISI. Thus, he added, Lt Gen (retd) Durrani would have knowledge of the required details.
Gen Beg reiterated that he had maintained all along that he had absolutely no involvement in the disbursement of ‘donations’ ordered by then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan. A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, will resume hearing of the Asghar Khan’s petition on May 10.
The petitioner alleges that millions of rupees was distributed among key politicians by the country’s spy agencies and the army in a bid to rig the 1990 elections and prevent the Pakistan Peoples Party from winning.
Missing inquiry reports
Meanwhile, an official of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) told The Express Tribune that the missing inquiry reports regarding Mehran Bank and Habib Bank are yet to be traced. He added that all-out efforts were being made to trace the judicial commissions’ reports.
During the previous hearing, Attorney General Irfan Qadir had sought time from the court to trace the missing reports.
The court expressed its astonishment over the fact that Mehran Bank’s inquiry report was privately available but was not available on official record.
Asghar Khan’s counsel Salman Akram Raja had received permission from the court to present a copy of the Mehran Bank inquiry commission report from journalist Hamid Mir.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2012.