ISLAMABAD, Nov 18: The government, in compliance with the Supreme Court’s order of last year, constituted on Monday a four-member FIA committee to investigate distribution of money among politicians by secret agencies for rigging the 1990 general elections.
The committee, headed by FIA Additional Director General Mohammad Ghalib Bandesha and comprising Dr Usman Anwar, Qudratullah Khan and Najab Qulli, has been asked to complete the investigation in six months.
The announcement about the committee was made by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan at a press conference on Sunday. He said the government would implement all SC decisions at any cost.
It will be an interesting inquiry because the Supreme Court in its judgment of October last year, on a petition of retired Air Marshal Asghar Khan, had said: “Late Ghulam Ishaq Khan, the then president; retired General Aslam Beg, the then army chief; and retired General Asad Durrani, the then ISI director general, acted in violation of the Constitution.”
This time the FIA will be investigating another former army chief and the ex-ISI chief. Many consider this an uphill task.
Also on Monday, the government sent a letter to the Supreme Court requesting it to constitute a special court comprising three high court judges to try former military ruler retired Gen Pervez Musharraf for treason for suspending the constitution while proclaiming the state of emergency on Nov 3, 2007.
“Right or wrong, the government has set the ball rolling,” said a government official.
It its last year’s verdict, the apex court said: “The general election held in the year 1990 was subjected to corruption and corrupt practices. Moreover, it has been established that an ‘election cell’ had been created in the Presidency, which was functioning to provide financial assistance to the favoured candidates, or a group of political parties, to achieve desired result by polluting the election process and to deprive the people of Pakistan from being represented by their chosen representatives.”
In his petition filed in 1996, Asghar Khan had requested the court to look into the allegations that the Inter-Services Intelligence had dished out Rs140 million to a number of politicians to create the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad and stop Benazir Bhutto’s PPP from coming to power. As a result of the 1990 elections, Nawaz Sharif became prime minister for the first time.
The court had also ordered that the money illegally disbursed among politicians by the then president and the ISI be recovered and deposited in the Habib Bank, along with the accumulated interest on it.
The order noted that Younus A. Habib, the then chief executive of Mehran Bank, had arranged Rs140 million belonging to the exchequer, of which Rs60m had been distributed among politicians.
A review petition filed by retired Gen Aslam Beg against the verdict is pending with the apex court.