Resuming hearing of the implementation of the case at the apex court’s Lahore Registry, a two-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar also sent notices to former ISI chief Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani, Director-General National Accountability Bureau and officials from the Federal Investigation Agency.
Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali submitted a report in the court pertaining to the cabinet’s decision in the case, and informed the bench that the cabinet has decided to implement the Supreme Court’s order.
He also told the court that the cabinet has directed the FIA to continue investigation in the case.
Chief Justice Nisar questioned what strategy has been devised to ensure that those who received the money return it back.
The bench, on the attorney general’s request, ordered the court staff to re-seal the report detailing the cabinet meeting.
The apex court then adjourned the case hearing till June 6.
During Friday’s hearing, Chief Justice Nisar, irked over the lack of progress in the Asghar Khan case, remarked that the government “ran away” after forming a sub-committee for the implementation of the Asghar Khan case verdict.
“Why hasn’t the federal cabinet done anything regarding the Asghar Khan case verdict,” he questioned, adding that this was a serious case but the government was least concerned about it.
On October 19, 2012, the Supreme Court issued a 141-page verdict, ordering legal proceedings against Gen (retd) Aslam Beg and Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani in a case filed 16 years ago by former air chief Air Marshal Asghar Khan.
Khan, who passed away in January this year, was represented in the Supreme Court by renowned lawyer Salman Akram Raja.
Khan had petitioned the Supreme Court in 1996 alleging that the two senior army officers and then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan had doled out Rs140 million among several politicians ahead of the 1990 polls to ensure Benazir Bhutto’s defeat in the polls.
The Islamic Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), consisting of nine parties including the Pakistan Muslim League, National Peoples Party and Jamaat-e-Islami, had won the 1990 elections, with Nawaz Sharif elected prime minister. The alliance had been formed to oppose the Benazir Bhutto-led Pakistan Peoples Party.
In 1996, Khan had written a letter to then Supreme Court Chief Justice Nasim Hassan Shah naming Beg, Durrani and Younis Habib, the ex-Habib Bank Sindh chief and owner of Mehran Bank, about the unlawful disbursement of public money and its misuse for political purposes.
The 2012 apex court judgment, authored by then-Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry, had directed the FIA to initiate a transparent investigation and subsequent trial if sufficient evidence was found against the former army officers.
The investigation is yet to conclude.