Air marshal (retd) Asghar Khan. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday resumed hearing the case of the Inter Services Intelligence’s (ISI) alleged misuse of secret funds in reference to a petition filed by Tehrik-i-Istiqlal chief Air Martial (retd) Asghar Khan, DawnNews reported.

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez was hearing the case.

Asghar Khan had filed the petition in 1996, accusing the ISI of financing several politicians during the 1990 elections to create the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) and prevent Benazir Bhutto’s PPP from winning. The ISI allegedly dished out Rs140 million for the purpose. The petition was based on the affidavit of former ISI chief Asad Durrani.

The SC today ordered the Attorney General to present the details of the Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) alleged misuse Rs 290 million within half an hour after the AG informed the court that .the judicial investigative reports relating to Habib Bank and Mehran Bank are missing from the records. A search of these documents is in the process, the AG had said.

The SC also turned down the AG’s request to allow him time till Monday to prepare his response pertaining to IB’s alleged corruption.

The apex court also summoned IB chief Aftab Sultan on an immediate basis.

“If the ex-Army chief and ex-ISI chief can be presented in the court then IB chief is also accountable to the court,” the court remarked.

Appearing before the court, the IB Chief said that he had no knowledge of the alleged funds being issued by the agency.

The agencies deal in cash and not through banks, said Sultan.

Moreover, the agency's secret files do not hold any records of the purpose of particular funds being used, he added.

Tariq Lodhi was the head of the IB at the alleged time of issuance of the funds in question, the IB chief added.

“Secret funds are meant to be used for national interest, not for being used against democracy,” Chief justice remarked.

The bench subsequently adjourned the hearing till April 23.

"To this day, not a single election in this country has been free and fair," petitioner Asghar Khan told reporters outside the court premises after the hearing was adjourned.

 

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