The names of those officers that helped distribute money to influence the 1990 elections will be revealed by former chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani.
The retired spymaster submitted a statement before the Supreme Court on Thursday in which he, however, requested that, once he submits sealed documents in this regard, the court should treat them as classified. A three-member bench of the apex court was hearing a petition filed by Tehreek-i-Istiqlal chief Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan in which he charged intelligence agencies with influencing the political process before the 1990 elections by dishing out millions of rupees to politicians.
During the previous hearing on July 16, the court had asked Durrani to place on record, a concise statement, supporting evidence or affidavits of who the money had gone through on the directions of then Army Chief Gen (retd) Aslam Beg and a team constituted by then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan.
In the statement Asad Durrani confirmed that the total amount distributed by him was approximately Rs70 million out of Rs140 million, while the remaining amount was deposited in the special fund of the ISI. Durrani also conceded that he had assigned the job of distributing money to certain officers of the Military Intelligence (MI) who were cognisant that the money disbursed was for the purpose of influencing the elections. He added that they had later reported back to apprise him about the distribution. He said he would tender the list of names, along with other classified documents, to the court in a sealed cover.
The former spy chief also claimed that he received Rs70 million of the Rs140 million from then army chief Mirza Aslam Baig. He claimed that Rs70 million was distributed through him while the remaining half was submitted to the ISI’s secret fund.
The hearing was adjourned till July 30.
(With additional input from ONLINE)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2012.