The government has rejected a demand from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for an independent probe commission to identify the politicians who allegedly received money from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the run-up to the 1990 parliamentary elections to influence the results.
“It is not our decision. It is a Supreme Court order and has to be implemented. No one should try to run away from historic facts,” Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told journalists on Tuesday.
The Supreme Court said in its weekend verdict that the ISI had distributed millions among leading political parties to form an alliance of rightwing parties called Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI).
The alliance won the elections against the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and helped Nawaz Sharif become the prime minister for the first time.
The court ordered the government to further probe the issue through the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to identify the political groups which received the money.
The PML-N said it welcomed the court ruling but called for an independent investigation instead of the FIA which works directly under the interior ministry.
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Sunday that his party, the PML-N, would never accept an FIA probe because of fears that the government could influence it.
Another PML-N leader demanded on Monday that a team from the United Nations should be invited to investigate the country’s biggest political scam to make the outcome acceptable to all.
But Information Minister Kaira said there was no need to either form an independent judicial commission or to invite a UN team for the probe because in either case it would negate the Supreme Court order.
He also asked the PML-N leadership to tender an apology to the nation and the president for “robbing” the PPP of people’s mandate in the 1990 elections. The PML-N leadership should do penance by apologising to the nation and the president, he added.
“Today, the doors have been slammed shut on poll rigging and no one can win elections on the basis of false propaganda and agencies’ support,” Kaira said.
What has been depicted in the court verdict is just a small chapter of the condemnable propaganda as various other characters and their wrongdoings are yet to be exposed, he added.
He said the court verdict had vindicated slain PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto in her grave as all her statements proved true, including the formation of government by stealing the people’s mandate. (With additional input from APP)
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2012.