Asghar Khan case: Army endorses apex court ruling

Published: October 20, 2012
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The army also attempted to distance itself from the two former generals. PHOTO: FILE

The army also attempted to distance itself from the two former generals. PHOTO: FILE

The army also attempted to distance itself from the two former generals. PHOTO: FILE Mushahid: It is a positive step towards enforcement of rule of law and accountability of the powerful, including the army. It is a landmark judgment which has set new rules and is positive for Pakistan’s vibrant and pluralist democracy 
PML-Q Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed Adeel: This is the first decision of its kind in which army officers have been found guilty of violating their oath. All those responsible should be punished so that no one could dare to do such things again. It is a test case for the army 
ANP Senior Vice President Haji Adeel Mehmood: It’s a landmark decision. People who have been receiving money from the political cell have no moral standing. Those politicians should own and take responsibility for receiving money and tender an apology  
PTI spokesperson Shafqat Mehmood
Rehman: The victory
changed the direction of the country’s politics. If a prime
minister could be sent packing, culprits in this case should
also be punished  
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman  
Jalil: We welcome the decision and it has proved MQM’s stance. We are the only party whose leadership refused to accept money. The political cell should be banned for all times to come and all those found guilty should be punished 
MQM spokesman Wasay Jalil Baloch: After this [ruling] the President House should not engage in political activities. Role of agencies in politics should be banned for all times to come. The Jamat-e-Islami has submitted an affidavit denying allegation of receiving money  
Jamat-e-Islami Secretary General Liaqat Baloch 
Khan: This is a bold and historic decision bearing far-reaching positive impact on democracy, system and upcoming general elections. Pre-poll rigging had always been happening, in 2008 our leadership was disqualified 
PML-N spokesperson Senator Mushahidullah Khan
ISLAMABAD: 

The Army endorsed the landmark Supreme Court judgment, insisting that the military should not interfere in politics, said two senior security officials on Friday.

They also expressed their regret over former army chief Gen (retd) Mirza Aslam Beg and former ISI chief Lt-Gen (retd) Asad Durrani for overstepping their authority by interfering in the country’s politics.

However, the army also attempted to distance itself from the two former generals, saying the current military leadership was performing its functions strictly in line with the Constitution.

“During the last four and a half years, there were occasions when the army could have overthrown the civilian government, but it did not do so,” said an official, citing a “clearly defined policy” of the current military leadership that they will not seek any direct or indirect intervention. Another senior security official insisted that no political cell existed in the ISI, or any other military-related institution. “If anyone has evidence, they should come forward with it,” the official said, adding that the security establishment had no plans whatsoever to manipulate the next general elections. When contacted, the Inter-Services Public Relations refused to give reaction to the judgment.

Court-martial or civilian trial

Will Beg and Durrani be court-martialled, or tried in the civilian court, is on the minds and on the lips of everyone, following the Supreme Court verdict.

Experts are of the view that both options are open. The recent decision by the army to try three retired Lts Gen and one Maj Gen for their alleged involvement in the National Logistic Cell scam indicated that retired army officials can be tried under the Army Act.

“It depends on the government, but they [Beg and Durrani] can be tried under the Army Act,” said Lt Gen (retd) Talat Masood.

However, he said the army wanted to stay away from the saga and would like the government to decide their fate.

‘Change won’t come overnight’

Former Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Asghar Khan, who took the Mehran Bank scandal to the Supreme Court in 1996, hoped the verdict would reduce the military’s role in politics.

“The Supreme Court has asked the defence services not to participate in politics and I hope it will be followed, and if it is followed correctly it will make a lot of differences to our politics,” he said.

Other observers suggested that the Supreme Court ruling will go a long way in ensuring civilian supremacy in the country. “But the change will not come overnight,” cautioned Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, who heads the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • sabi
    Oct 20, 2012 - 11:20AM

    “During the last four and a half years, there were occasions when the army could have overthrown the civilian government, but it did not do so,”
    A man invited his friennd to a feast.The guest waited while the host made preparation.when host finaly returned to friend for conversation the friend leane forward and whisperd to host ‘I could have set your house on fire during your absence but I didn’t’.

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  • Nadir
    Oct 20, 2012 - 3:09PM

    Army endorses decision…the fact that they think that their is a choice that they could have, or could not have, go’s to show that they are still beyond the rule of law. What if they had not endorsed it?

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  • Abreez
    Oct 20, 2012 - 3:33PM

    Only a fool can believe this statement from army, they are waiting for their turn. Army generals never believe in rule of law, democracy and human rights, it’s against their psychology, unless we hang someone who broke Pakistani law until then I will not believe anything from army.

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  • salman
    Oct 20, 2012 - 4:31PM

    Appreciate army statement. Wonder if all politicians and political parties who took the money can make similar statement.

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  • Abreez
    Oct 20, 2012 - 4:42PM

    In St. Helena once Napoleon said,
    “A revolution is always, whatever some may think, one of the greatest misfortunes with which Divine anger can punish a nation. It is the scourge of the nation which brings it about; and for a long course it is the misfortune of all. True social happiness consists in regular and peaceful order, in the harmony of every one’s relative enjoyments. I gave millions every year to the poor. I made immense sacrifices to aid and assist industry, and yet France has now more poor than in 1787. The reason is that revolutions, however well conducted, destroy everything instantaneously, and only re-construct society after a considerable time. The French Revolution was a national convulsion as irresistible in its effects as an eruption of Vesuvius. When the unperceived workings of the people arrive at maturity, a revolution bursts forth.”

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  • Saleem
    Oct 20, 2012 - 8:09PM

    Courts don’t need anyone’s endorsement. It is their verdict and everyone has to accept it, period.

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  • mahmood
    Oct 20, 2012 - 8:12PM

    Hopefully this verdict will prove to be a milestone in Pakistan’s inevitable journey toward civilian supremacy

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  • A J Khan
    Oct 20, 2012 - 9:32PM

    If this decision is correct, than the decision of Supreme Court regarding dismissal of Benazir Bhutto government is wrong.

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  • mukhtar
    Oct 21, 2012 - 7:36AM

    Politicians should learn to stand on their own feet instead of using crutches of the army

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  • Mirza
    Oct 21, 2012 - 9:23AM

    Army endorsed SC’s decision, Sharif also endorsed. As long as nothing happens to any of them they would endorse and support it. What have these people lost after committing acts of treason many times? As long as the beneficiaries are living happily thereafter with all their perks and ill-gotten wealth they would endorse anything.

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  • Oct 22, 2012 - 2:37AM

    As for as I remember Brig Imtiaz (Billa) on a TV show stated that the funds for distribution were order by the president house. The President being the supreme commander, his orders had to be followed by the generals. Both the bank official and Brig Imtiaz have in detail described the process of hand outs.

    The present President along with his deceased spouse had been charged with embezzlement of funds. Apparently there is no problem with that, but the axe would fall on two persons who, as far as we know, were following orders from their superior. On whose orders, demand, advice or wishes did GIK tried to hinder BB’s success at the ballot box?

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  • Mirza
    Oct 22, 2012 - 6:38PM

    @Abid P Khan:
    That defense was offered (we were just following orders) by Nazi officials and they were all hanged. If a superior asks a soldier to commit treason or kill an innocent neighbor no law forces the soldier to do the unlawful thing. Nice try to shield the traitors and law breaker criminals. What happened to the oath of protecting the country and constitution?
    Cheers,
    Mirza

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  • Rommel
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:45AM

    Has anyone asked Asghar Khan , why did he seek Military Intervention against the first democratically elected Government of Mr Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. It’s an historic fact which needs to be touched upon. Mr Wali Khan publically said, pehley Ihtesab Pair Intikhab. Comments please….

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