ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday while adjourning the hearing till March 14, directed Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq to overview the investigative reports of Habib Bank and Mehran in order to support the proceedings.
Former director-general Inter-Services Intelligence Asad Durrani had revealed that the money was distributed to politicians on the directives of the then army chief General (retd) Mirza Aslam Baig and the then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan.
During the hearing of the case filed by Air Martial (Retd) Asghar Khan against the ISI's alleged role in distributing money amongst politicians in the Supreme Court, Durrani had informed the court that he wasn’t sure if Ishaq Khan was involved in the scandal, but he said that he had “backed” it.
Durrani had also said that the money was collected by the business community of Karachi.
Earlier, Baig while submitting his reply in the Supreme Court had snubbed Mehran bank’s former chief Younis Habib’s allegations.
Baig, in his statement, had said that Habib, the central protagonist of the scandal, was trying to “scandalise” court’s proceedings and was trying to malign his and former president's name.
Habib’s allegations were rejected in the first paragraph of the four-page affidavit submitted to the court by Baig. The remaining affidavit consisted other details and references from the previous court hearings.
An overview of the document was done by the three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
Chief Justice Chaudhry pointed out that paragraph 14 of the affidavit was contemptuous. Shaikh defended Baig saying that the paragraph should be read in context with the other paragraphs.
Baig apologised to the court and presented the following written apology:
“TO THE SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN
With reference to my affidavit in response to affidavit of Younis Habib. I sincerely apologize for the contents of paragraph 14 of my affidavit, and submit that it may be deleted and not considered as part of my affidavit.
Mirza Aslam Beg
March 9, 2012”
The chief justice permitted him to delete the following paragraph:
“That in submitting this counter affidavit I sincerely thank this Hon’ble Court, for making me complete my ‘Hat-trick’, of appearing thrice before this apex court – first before Chief Justice M Afzal Zullah, second time before Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and now before this honourable court, under the dynamic leadership of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. This is an honour, bestowed on me – which no other COAS can possibly claim. And yet, I wonder: “Jane kis jurm ki paye hay saza yad naheen.” (Why I am being punished, I know not)."
The chief justice observed that there were conflicting statements given to the court by all the respondents, hence it was necessary to launch an inquiry in this case.
Concurring to the chief justice’s statement, Shaikh said that if a judicial commission is constituted by the court, it will be duly accepted.
Advocate Salman Akram Raja said that the records from banks where the money was transacted from should be obtained. He also said that all the respondents, being government officials, have violated the oath by committing this act.
Advocate Raja said that directive according to the constitution should be given so that such a scandal do not surface in the future.
The affidavit has been handed over to the media, while the other documents submitted by Baig's counsel Akram Shaikh remained with the judicial bench.
In the documents, Shaikh maintained that his client had previously complied with the court’s orders and was still willing to do so.
During Thursday's hearing, Habib had tendered an unconditional apology for his deeds and had said that he was used by former army chief Baig and former president Ishaq Khan and subsequently jailed for four years.
He had further revealed that, due to pressure from the “higher-ups”, he had arranged for Rs1.48 billion out of which Rs140 million were distributed among political parties while the rest were invested in army welfare schemes and transferred to account numbers provided by ISI officials on the directives of Baig.
Asghar Khan’s petition, filed in 1996, had requested the court to look into allegations that the ISI had provided Rs140 million to create the Islamic Jamhoori Itehad to harm Benazir Bhutto’s election campaign.
‘Yousuf Advocate didn’t deliver money to Altaf Hussain’
Habib, in an exclusive interview with Express News said that Rs20 million which were handed to Yousuf Advocate to be sent to Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain, were not delivered.
Habib said that Advocate had embezzled the money.
MQM celebrates after Col Akbar’s statement
As reports that Hussain did not take money in the Mehrangate scandal surfaced, MQM called for celebrations throughout its units present in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Nawabshah.
The party’s coordination committee said that the explanatory statement given in the case razed all the allegations against him. The committee also said that the elements which are conspiring against Hussain were trying to mislead the masses by alleging that Hussain received money from ISI.
However, after Colonel (retd) Akbar said in an interview that in his presence, Brigadier Hamid tried to persuade Hussain to take money, but the latter refused.
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