After concluding investigations into treason charges against General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is going to launch a probe into claims that the army had spent millions of rupees on politicians in the 1990 general elections.
It will be the second Herculean task for the FIA team to collect evidence against Gen (retd) Aslam Beg and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) ex-director general Lt-Gen (retd) Asad Durrani for their alleged role in facilitating a group of political parties to ensure their success against their rivals in the 1990 elections.
A four-member FIA team to be headed by its Additional Director General Muhammad Ghalib Bandesha will question those whose names feature in the Supreme Court’s detailed order on the petition of Tehreek-e-Istaqlal chief Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan who had accused the ISI of bankrolling politicians in the 1990s. The petition was based on an affidavit of Gen Asad Durrani.
The committee consisting of three other senior officers namely Dr Usman Anwar, Qudratullah Khan and Najab Qulli will question the alleged recipients of the Rs140 million distributed among politicians.
The team will complete its report by May 2014. The FIA, in light of the SC judgment, will initiate legal proceedings against the accused and also find sufficient evidences to pave the way for their criminal trial, said a member of the committee on condition of anonymity.
Under the law, the FIA has six months to complete this inquiry and submit its report to the government which will likely constitute a tribunal to proceed the case further, he told The Express Tribune.
The committee, whose all four members belong to the police services, will have the power to question anyone whose name is mentioned in the SC’s order including the sitting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said the member of the committee.
“The role of Younas Habib, the former chief executive of Habib Bank Ltd and of the now defunct Mehran Bank, will remain important when the FIA starts investigation,” he added.
“Asghar Case’s detailed judgment is contrary to Article 10 (A) because it violates the right of fair trial,” said Ali Zafar, counsel for Gen Aslam Beg who filed a review plea which is pending with the SC.
He said the SC gave this judgment and certain findings without a proper trial. “No political party, no leader, no person who had allegedly received any money were called or questioned. In view of this the judgment is liable to be reviewed,” he added.
Salman Akram Raja, the counsel for Asghar Khan, observed: “if the FIA succeed to conduct fair investigation then that verdict may change the course of the country’s political history.”
The FIA prosecutors and law experts believe that the ultimate findings of this case can lead to both Prevention of Corruption Act and the trial of those involved in manipulating elections under the Peoples Representatives Act of Election Commission of Pakistan. They say that the military personnel and IB officers will be tried under their own laws mentioned in their acts.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2013.