Former Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) chief Lieutenant General (retd) Assad Durrani has conceded the role of ISI and Military Intelligence (MI) in rigging the 1990 parliamentary elections.
Durrani submitted an affidavit in response to the one submitted by Gen Mirza Aslam Beg blaming the ISI for corrupt practices. Durrani stated that then-army chief, Aslam Beg, knew about the plan. Defending his position, Durrani insisted that the role of ISI and MI in distributing funds among various politicians and political parties was lawful.
“The ISI had the mandate to carry out this task,” he maintained.
“The decision to disburse election donations may well have been taken by then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan, who having handpicked the caretaker government including the prime minister Mustafa Jatoi, was the de-facto chief executive. The operation was therefore lawful and followed an established chain of command,” he said.
“All accounts were maintained by officers belonging to various MI detachments, and funds were placed in temporary accounts… details can be provided on a confidential basis. The balance was transferred to an ISI special fund only after the disbursements were completed,” Durrani held, adding that “Since records were maintained meticulously, all transactions can be accounted for.”
Gen Beg filed a fresh statement on May 10 attempting to absolve himself of any role in the distribution of funds. Gen Durrani said “General Mirza Aslam Beg was on board this operation right from the beginning - both in the process of issuing instructions, as well as overseeing the disbursements.”
“I received my initial orders to organise the distribution of election donations through the president (Ishaq Khan). Though subsequent instructions were at times conveyed by Ijlal Haider Zaidi, a member of the president’s election team, I kept the army chief fully informed,” Durrani added.
The general also held that “in this case I followed orders convinced that it was in the best interest of the country. I seek the court’s permission to explain my decision on a confidential basis, or if it pleases the court, to submit a paper on the subject for the court’s eyes only.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2012.
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