As the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday examined progress in the implementation of its landmark judgement in the Asghar Khan case, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar warned that the court would summon military authorities if the cabinet's decision in the case was not executed.
The case concerns the allegations brought forward by late Air Marshal Asghar Khan, who had accused former army chief retired Gen Mirza Aslam Beg and former intelligence chief retired Lt Gen Asad Durrani of corrupting the democratic process with money.
The petitioner accused Inter-Services Intelligence of financing politicians in the 1990 elections by dishing out Rs140 million to create the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) and prevent Benazir Bhutto’s PPP from winning the polls. The petition was based on an affidavit provided by Durrani.
Close to 16 years after the petition was filed, the Supreme Court had found that the 1990 polls had indeed been polluted by giving Rs140 million to a group of politicians, thereby depriving people of their right to be represented by their chosen leaders.
In May 2017, the PTI had announced its decision to file in the Supreme Court a petition seeking the implementation of the orders of the already decided case.
CJP Nisar today remarked that the cabinet had decided that the trial of army officers in the case would take place in military courts.
"Why haven’t you acted upon this decision?" the CJP asked the Defence Ministry's legal director, Falak Naz, to which the latter responded that they had not yet received a summary in this regard from the Interior Ministry.
Justice Nisar cautioned that if the cabinet's decision was not acted upon, the court would summon military authorities to court instead of the Defence Ministry representatives.
"No one is above the law," he warned, ordering that the court’s decision should be acted upon.
The top judge asked Naz when the court would receive a detailed report on the implementation of its verdict, to which the Defence Ministry official asked for four weeks' time.
The court agreed to grant four weeks to the Defence Ministry for preparation of the report and set the next date of the hearing on Sept 15.
The court also ordered the Defence Ministry to provide the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) with information it requires pertaining to the case.
The CJP then turned to FIA Director General Bashir Memon and asked him if politicians had been cooperating with the FIA probe in the case.
In June, the SC had issued notices to 21 people, including former prime minister Nawaz Sharif; politicians Javed Hashmi and Abida Hussain; and retired Lt Gen Asad Durrani, among other politicians and army officials issued legal notices. Officials of the National Accountability Bureau and FIA were also issued notices by the court.
Memon told the court that the FIA had spoken to former prime minister Mir Zafarullah Jamali over the telephone, but the latter had denied receiving any money.
The DG FIA added that Mir Hasil Bizenjo and Humayun Marri, who had been busy with the elections, would now make themselves available to the FIA.