ISLAMABAD, Oct 23: Rejecting the PML-N’s demand to form an independent commission to probe distribution of money by ISI among politicians, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira asked the Sharif brothers on Tuesday to apologise to President Asif Ali Zardari and the nation for “stealing its mandate in the 1990 elections”.
“You are obliged to seek an apology from the president, the nation and history for stealing people’s mandate in 1990,” the minister said while addressing a press conference at the PPP’s central secretariat.
Mr Kaira said it was the Supreme Court, and not the government, which had called an investigation through the Federal Investigation Agency against politicians alleged to have received money from intelligence agencies in the 1990 elections as part of the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad – an alliance that had been formed by the then military establishment to defeat the PPP.
Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, had said on Sunday that his party had accepted the court’s decision in the Asghar Khan case, but a probe by FIA was not acceptable to the party.
He had also rejected the demand for seeking an apology, saying the PML-N would do so if proven guilty.
Mr Kaira, who is also the information secretary of the PPP, expressed the hope that the Supreme Court would take note of the PML-N’s announcement.
He regretted that the PML-N always welcomed the court’s verdicts against the PPP, but was not ready to accept a decision against itself. In reply to a question, he said action would begin soon against those involved in misusing public money.
The minister alleged that since Chaudhry Nisar was a part of Nawaz Sharif’s kitchen cabinet, he was privy to all decisions. He asked the PML-N leadership to at least “feel ashamed” over its past.
Moreover, Mr Kaira said, the status of the government formed after the 1990 elections was yet to be decided. Similarly, he said, all the actions of the Nawaz Sharif government, including registration of politically-motivated cases, would soon be questioned.
Mr Kaira said the man who headed the election cell in the presidency in 1990 would soon be exposed as nowadays “he claims to be a strong supporter of democracy”.
He recalled that former ISI chief Gen Hameed Gul on a number of occasions had claimed that he had formed the IJI. He alleged that money was distributed among IJI components under the supervision of Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Roedad Khan.
In reply to a question, he said Ms Bhutto had conferred Tamgha-i-Jamhooriat (Democracy Medal) on the army as an institution and not on Gen (retd) Aslam Beg, then army chief, adding the medal was unlikely to be with Mr Beg now.
The minister also quoted statements of Ms Bhutto about establishment of a cell at the presidency to rig the polls and questioning IJI’s victory in 105 constituencies.
He also read out some extracts from the “white paper” that was issued by the PPP after the 1990 elections. Qamar Zaman Kaira said the IJI-led alliance had carried out a media trial of Ms Bhutto by publishing advertisements in newspapers under the banner of some fake organisations. He also showed copies of some of the advertisements.
He said former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed the PPP government in 1990 and his action was ratified by the then Chief Justice of Lahore High Court Rafiq Tarar, who was later rewarded by making him president.
Meanwhile, PML-N information secretary Mushahidullah Khan in a statement questioned as to why the government had so far not initiated action against former army chief Aslam Beg, former ISI chief Asad Durrani and Younus Habib who had been proven guilty in the SC judgment.
He regretted that the PPP had launched a propaganda campaign against the PML-N only to achieve some political gains.