SC takes up review petitions in Asghar Khan case

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court started hearing the review petitions against the 2012 Asghar Khan case judgment.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar, heard the review petitions filed by former army chief General Mirza Aslam Beg and former Inter-Services Intelligence DG Lieutenant General Asad Durrani against the apex court’s decision on the case filed by late air chief Asghar Khan.
Advocate Salman Akram Raja, who was representing Asghar Khan in the case, also appeared before the bench. While referring to him, the top judge asked him to brief the bench over the case.
The chief justice then ordered Gen Beg to appear before the court.
Addressing the former army chief, the chief justice directed him to present arguments himself if a lawyer is not representing him.
Gen Beg remarked that he was informed of the hearing yesterday and was thus “unable to prepare for the case”, adding that the case should thus be adjourned.

However, the chief justice observed that the matter will not be adjourned.

The counsel of the former ISI chief requested the court to delay the hearing for later today.
Chief Justice Nisar then adjourned the hearing until 2:30pm today.

Case history

On October 19, 2012, the apex court had issued a 141-page verdict, ordering legal proceedings against Gen (retd) Beg and Lt Gen (retd) Durrani in a case filed 16 years ago by former air chief Air Marshal Asghar Khan.
Khan, who passed away in January this year, was represented in the Supreme Court by renowned lawyer Salman Akram Raja.
Khan had petitioned the Supreme Court in 1996 alleging that the two senior army officers and the then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan had doled out Rs140 million among several politicians ahead of the 1990 polls to ensure Benazir Bhutto’s defeat in the polls.

The Islamic Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), consisting of nine parties including the Pakistan Muslim League, National Peoples Party and Jamaat-e-Islami, had won the 1990 elections, with Nawaz Sharif being elected prime minister. The alliance had been formed to oppose the Benazir Bhutto-led Pakistan Peoples Party.

In 1996, Khan had written a letter to the then Supreme Court Chief Justice Nasim Hassan Shah naming Beg, Durrani and Younis Habib, the ex-Habib Bank Sindh chief and owner of Mehran Bank, about the unlawful disbursement of public money and its misuse for political purposes.

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.
That investigation is yet to conclude.