ISLAMABAD – A former military commander of Pakistan has admitted before a federal agency that ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif had received money from the army to sabotage the 1990 general elections.
General (r) Mirza Aslam Baig, who served as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) between 1988 and 1991, claims that money was disbursed among several politicians including the former president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
His confession to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) follows the denial of Sharif, who was disqualified over Panama Papers revelations last year, that he received any money from the army.
Gen (r) Baig, on the other hand, asserted that he would provide the proofs in the presence of Nawaz Sharif. Moreover, the former COAS said, he would record his statement in Asghar Khan case in detail when Nawaz Sharif would appear before FIA.
On Saturday, Sharif submitted his reply in the Asghar Khan case in the Supreme Court through his counsel.
The elder Sharif, in his reply, denied the claims of receiving Rs3.5 million from Lt. General (r) Asad Durrani or from his representatives as a donation to spend on the general election campaign of 1990.
Nawaz Sharif also denied receiving an amount in the sum of Rs3.5 million and Rs2.5 million from Younus Habib or under his instructions.
The ex-PM also stated that he had already recorded his statement on October 14, 2015, before the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) inquiry committee about the issue.
Asghar Khan Case
Filed by former air chief, Asghar Khan, the case in question is one of the most talked about cases in the judicial history of Pakistan. It also gives a glimpse about the civil-military relations and the role played by the military establishment in the political domain.
Air Marshal Asghar Khan, in his petition filed in 1996, claimed that two senior army officers and then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan doled out Rs 140 million among few individuals to thwart the bid of Pakistan People’s Party, secure victory in the 1990 elections.
Asghar KhanThe petition was filed when Justice Nasim Hassan Shah was the Chief Justice, however, the verdict came after a span of 16 years on October 19, 2012 when the apex court issued a 141-page verdict, ordering legal proceedings against Gen (retd) Beg and Lt Gen (retd) Durrani, however, nothing substantial was done in this regard.
The 2012 apex court judgment, authored by the then-Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry, had directed the Federal Investigation Agency to initiate a transparent investigation and subsequent trial if sufficient evidence is found against the former army officers.
Gen (r) Asad DurraniAsghar Khan, who passed away in January this year, was represented in the Supreme Court by renowned lawyer Salman Akram Raja.
Supreme Court Order
On October 19, 2012, a Supreme Court bench headed by a former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP), Iftikhar Chaudhry, directed the then PPP government to take action against the former military officials for doling Rs140 million to politicians in order to ensure the defeat of slain PPP leader Benazir Bhutto in the elections.
The Federal Investigation Agency had also been tasked with investigating the matter against the politicians, including embattled Sharif, who had allegedly received the money to run election campaigns. It was also ordered to recover the distributed amount from the accused politicians with profit.