A week after the Supreme Court ordered the government to probe the accused in the Asghar Khan case, former Army Chief General Alsam Beg has said that he has been dealt injustice and that the list of beneficiaries provided by former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt. Gen. Assad Durrani was fake.
Speaking during an interview on Ary News, Gen. (retired) Aslam Beg alleged that the court had only looked at one side of the story and its efforts to seek further evidence had been largely blocked. He added that the court did not hear him out, nor did it allow his witnesses be presented or allow any of the other witnesses, save Gen (retired) Naseerullah Babar, to be cross examined.
“I do not accept this judgment … apex court says that criminal liability has been proved – without any proof?”
‘Durrani’s list is fake’
Gen Beg said that the money used in 1990 elections was not public money and that he has proof for that.
“I knew that this money had come and that it was given. The president knew about it – I went to him. I warned [ISI chief] Durrani,” he said.
When asked did he know to whom the money was given to, Gen. Beg denied. “I don’t know.”
When asked whether the money was given to Nawaz Sharif, the former army chief said, “why only Nawaz Sharif, everyone who is on that [Durrani’s] list did not take money. Gen. (retired) Naseerullah Babar has confrimed this.”
When he was asked whether he believed the then ISI chief had lied in court and that Gen. Babar was telling the truth, Gen Beg acknowledged. “I definitely believe that.”
When confronted with the facts presented by Younis Habib, the former army chief said that under the law, a person who has been sentenced and served time in jail, his testimony is not admissible in court.
ISI’s political cell
Asked whether the then ISI chief had not violated his oath through his involvement in the ISI’s political cell, Gen. Beg said that was not the case since Durrani, and all the ISI chief’s who either preceded him or succeeded him were working under the mandate given by prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who had first created the cell in 1975.
Beg though questioned why subsequent governments including those of Ziaul Haq, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Benazir, Nawaz Sharif and Pervez Musharraf continued to use the political cell instead of shutting it down.
“It has closed today, and it would not have closed if I had not exposed the matter before the Supreme Court in 1997,” the former army chief said, claiming credit for shutting down the spy agencies political cell.
“I told the SC that this all would not have happened if the 1975 notification would not have been issued by Bhutto. On this, the SC said that this notification be brought and shown. It was brought and shown, but after that “there was no light left in the lamps”.
Verdict engineered to postpone elections
Gen. Beg alleged that the verdict in the Asghar Khan case, a case which was taken up after spending 16 mothballed years in the Supreme Court, was orchestrated to postpone the elections, with the incumbent government the obvious beneficiaries.
“The election commission is right. The case was dormant for 16 years, why was it picked up only now?”
“Is it or is it not a plan to delay elections so that after a year Zardari can be relected [as president ] for a second five year term?” he said.
Asghar Khan: Traitor or hero
Commenting on the petition filed by air marshal Asghar Khan, which culminated in the October 19, 2012 order, former army chief said that some new information had been revealed by Field Marshal Ayub Khan’s son Gohar Ayub a few months ago in a television programme.
Beg said that Gohar had revealed that an intelligence intercept of air marshal Asghar Khan’s communication days before the 1965 war had shown that the air force chief would not order his pilots to engage in the war, terming it a ‘war of the khakhis’.
The former army chief said that he then personally rang up Gohar who confirmed the matter to him. When Beg questioned why had the field marshal desisted from trying the air chief for the obvious high treason, the answer provided was that this would tantamount to tarnishing the air force’s image.
Beg went onto add that the Asghar Khan had also sabotaged the PNA-government deal before instigating General Ziaul Haq to stage a coup. “He [Asghar Khan] wrote to Zia that if Bhutto was not immediately removed, he would destroy the country. Zia sent the letter to his formation to create public opinion and a few days later he installed martial law.”
The former army chief further revealed that it was on Asghar Khan’s insistence that Bhutto was hanged. “Whose agenda was it to get rid of Bhutto?” Beg asked, before answering it himself that it was Henry Kissinger who wanted to get rid of the PPP founder for starting Pakistan’s nuclear programme, enhancing ties with China and bring the Muslim world under the umbrella of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC).