ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has decided to file in the Supreme Court a petition seeking implementation of the already decided and famous Asghar Khan case.

The decision was taken by the PTI leadership at a meeting presided over by party chairman Imran Khan at his Banigala residence here on Wednesday.

Talking to Dawn after the meeting, PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said that the party leadership had assigned him the task of finalising the petition asking the Supreme Court to take steps for the implementation of its five-year-old judgement in the Asghar Khan case in which the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had been directed to hold investigations against all those politicians, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who had received money from army generals during the 1990 elections in an effort to defeat the Pakistan Peoples Party.

The PTI leader, however, said that they had not yet decided as to what should be the nature of the petition. He said there were two options before the party, and explained that they were considering filing a contempt case against the FIA and other responsible persons for not implementing the court’s verdict or filing a new petition requesting the apex court to constitute a joint investigation team (JIT) like it had done in the Panama Papers case.

Fawad Chaudhry said the party would file the petition in the next week.

The PTI leader said that he had written a letter to the FIA head last month asking him to provide details of the actions it had so far taken in line with the Supreme Court’s decision in the Asghar Khan case. But, he regretted, the FIA had not yet responded to his letter, forcing the party leadership to take this decision.

He said that through the letter he had asked the FIA head to respond to 12 questions.

He said he had even warned the FIA boss that the party might take the agency to the Supreme Court for allegedly committing contempt of court by not acting on the order issued by a three-judge bench headed by then chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry in October 2012.

The PTI leader said he had specifically asked the FIA to tell him about the progress they had made in holding “criminal investigations” against PM Sharif and to identify the officials in the agency responsible for this “criminal act” of not obeying the court’s order in letter and spirit.

The Supreme Court had in its verdict ruled that the 1990 general elections had been polluted by dishing out Rs140 million to a particular group of politicians only to deprive the people of being represented by their chosen representatives.

The court had, however, thrown the ball back to the then PPP government by directing it to take necessary action under the Constitution and law against former army chief retired Gen Aslam Beg and former director general of Inter-Services Intelligence retired Lt Gen Asad Durrani for their role in facilitating the group of politicians and political parties to ensure their success against their rivals in the 1990 elections.

The petition had been filed by Tehreek-i-Istaqlal chief retired Air Marshal Asghar Khan who had accused the ISI of financing the politicians in the 1990s.

The judgement had directed the FIA to initiate legal proceedings against the politicians who had allegedly received donations during the 1990 polls. “The FIA is required to hold a transparent investigation and if sufficient evidence is found against the politicians they would face criminal trial,” said the verdict.

Soon after the court’s verdict, then information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira had declared that the PPP government would complete the investigation against beneficiaries of the scandal in the “shortest possible time”. However, since then the order had been lying in the cold storage with no progress.

Fawad Chaudhry said that besides this, the PTI leaders in the meeting also reviewed the prevailing political situation in the country after the apex court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case and the government’s action to remove the prime minister’s special assistant on foreign affairs Tariq Fatemi and principal information officer Rao Tehsin Ali in line with the “recommendations” of the committee that had been formed to hold an inquiry into a story published in Dawn last year.

He said the party leaders believed that the government wanted to put the Panama Papers issue and the Dawn inquiry report under wraps.

The PTI had already submitted a resolution to the National Assembly Secretariat asking the government to present the Dawn inquiry report in the house for a debate.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2017

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