Islamabad: Pakistan`s Supreme Court on Wednesday
issued notices to former ISI chief Asad Durrani and the
Defence Ministry as it resumed hearing a petition against the
funding of politicians by the spy agency after a gap of over
A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar
Chaudhry also sought records related to the case filed in 1996
by former air force chief Asghar Khan.
Among the documents sought by the bench were in-camera
statements recorded in the past by Durrani, late Maj Gen
Naseerullah Khan Babar and former Army chief Gen (retired)
Mirza Aslam Beg, and a report on the functioning of the ISI
that was originally submitted to the apex court in 1998.
The bench said all these documents should be presented in
court in sealed envelopes.
Asghar Khan, who recently announced he would merge his
Tehrik-e-Istaqlal party with Imran Khan`s Tehrik-e-Insaaf
party, had filed the petition against Beg, Durrani and Yunus
Habib, the former head of Mehran Bank.
The last hearing of the case was held 12 years and four
During today`s hearing, the bench said it was necessary
to go through the records as considerable time had passed
since the last hearing.
The bench further said the matter could not be put off
for long and decided to schedule the next hearing for March 2.
At this point, a defence lawyer pointed out that former
ISI chief Durrani was abroad on a private visit and would not
return till March 6.
At the suggestion of Attorney General Anwar-ul-Haq, the
court adjourned the matter till March 8.
The bench further observed that Durrani`s presence was
necessary in court as the case could not be taken forward in
his absence. It directed officials to ascertain banker Yunus
Habib`s current address within two days so that a notice could
also be issued to him.
Asghar Khan`s petition had accused Habib of facilitating
the distribution of at least Rs 14 crore from his Mehran Bank
to defeat the Pakistan People`s Party in the 1990 election.
The funds meant to manipulate the results of the polls in
favour of the army-backed Islami Jamhoori Ittehad.
The money was reportedly distributed among anti-PPP
politicians, political parties and journalists.
The case could cause embarrassment for the military and
politicians like PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, who was reportedly
among the recipients of the funds.
The Dawn newspaper, in an editorial, noted that the
subject matter of the case "may be high-octane and may yield
embarrassing headlines for the Army and certain politicians"
but Asghar Khan`s petition was "unlikely to become a
transformative moment in the history of civil-military
The petition does not seek any specific punishment
against former Army chief Mirza Aslam Beg, Asad Durrani or
Yunus Habib, it said.
"At best there will be a declaratory judgment along the
lines of the one that said the Emergency declared by Gen
(Pervez) Musharraf in 2007 was unconstitutional. Those
expecting that jail terms or other punishments will be awarded
are likely to be disappointed," the editorial said.
Asghar Khan`s lawyer Wahabul Khairi yesterday petitioned
the Supreme Court to eliminate the political wing of the ISI,
which has often been accused of meddling in the affairs of
political parties. Khairi has asked the court to take up his
application along with Asghar Khan`s petition.