The Supreme Court has once again summoned the report of formation of the Inter-Services Intelligence’s (ISI) political cell and directed the defence and interior secretaries to submit their replies in the Asghar Khan case.
However, the decade-old case filed by Khan was adjourned yet again on Thursday after his lawyer failed to appear in court.
The petitioner’s counsel, Salman Akram Raja, failed to appear for the hearing citing ill health. Raja’s advocate-on-record informed the court that Raja had requested the court to adjourn the hearing.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry stated that although the case was significant and its hearings were crucial, however, due to the counsel’s absence, the hearing had to be adjourned till October 3.
The chief justice – heading a three-member bench – has been hearing Khan’s petition in which he accused the ISI of providing financial support to politicians during the 1990s elections. He alleged that the intelligence agency rigged the elections by distributing Rs140 million among various politicians to create the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) and prevented Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party from sweeping the polls.
The petition was based on an affidavit of former ISI chief Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani.
Attorney General Irfan Qadir informed the court that the notification enabling the formation of the political cell was not available. The bench made attorney general’s reply part of its official record that there was no cell presently operating in the ISI.
Consequently, the chief justice observed that it seemed that there was no political cell of the ISI.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2012.
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