Asghar Khan case: FIA pleads with Supreme Court to close the case

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has once again pleaded with the Supreme Court to close the Asghar Khan case, on Monday.

According to details, FIA pleaded the court in its response after the apex court directives to furnish a comprehensive report in the case.

The FIA maintained that due to lack of evidence, the case could not proceed in the court of law.

It mentioned that statements of several witnesses were recorded, besides investigation into benami accounts in the same case.

Furthermore, it was stated that the inquiry committee had interviewed Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Shami, Habib Akram, Brig (rtd) Hamid Saeed and advocate Yousaf Memon. However, substantial evidence could not be ascertained.

The timeline of Asghar Khan case

June 16, 1996: Air Marshal (r) Asghar Khan moves the top court alleging that the two senior army officers and then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan had doled out Rs140m among several politicians ahead of the 1990 polls to ensure Benazir Bhutto’s defeat in the polls. The fund was allegedly provided by Younas Habib, the then chief executive officer of Habib Bank Limited (HBL), which was a government bank at that time.

October 19, 2012: The apex court issues a 141-page verdict, ordering legal proceedings against former Pakistan Army chief General (r) Mirza Aslam Beg and former director general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen (r) Asad Durrani in the case that was filed 16 years ago.

November 20, 2012: The government files a review petition of the verdict again after its petition was returned due to the absence of a mandatory court fee.

November 21, 2012: Gen (r) Asad Durrani files a review petition of the top court’s verdict in the case claiming he was “not given a fair chance to defend himself”.

December 20, 2013: FIA records Asghar Khan’s statement.

April 8, 2015: The government withdraws its review petition from SC.

January 5, 2018: Asghar Khan passes away.

May 7, 2018: SC dismisses review pleas filed by General (r) Mirza Aslam Beg and former ISI DG Lt Gen (r) Asad Durrani in the case.

May 16, 2018: General (r) Mirza Aslam Beg and Gen (r) Asad Durrani appear before a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) committee constituted to investigate the Asghar Khan case.

June 6, 2018: Supreme Court orders all the respondents in the Asghar Khan case to submit written replies by June 9.

June 9, 2018: Former premier Nawaz Sharif denies receiving Rs3.5 million from former ISI chief or under his instructions from his representatives as a donation to spend on the 1990 general election campaign. Nawaz also denied receiving an amount in the sum of Rs3.5 million and Rs2.5 million from Younus Habib or under his instructions. Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq submits an affidavit on behalf of his party denying allegations of receiving money from the ISI in 1990.

June 11, 2018: Former federal minister Abida Hussain also denies receiving money from intelligence agencies for participating in Nawaz Sharif’s 1990 election campaign.

June 22, 2018: Former interior minister and senior leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Abdul Rehman Malik records statement in the case.

August 11, 2018: SC orders the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to submit a report in the case.

August 15, 2018: Top court questions why military court trials of army officials accused in the case are still pending.

September 25, 2018: SC decides to hold in-camera briefings in the case as defence authorities convene a “court of inquiry” to initiate proceedings against military officers allegedly involved in the distribution of funds.

Dec 31, 2018: The FIA urges the top court to close the case filed by Air Marshal (r) Asghar Khan, claiming that the agency did not have enough evidence for a criminal investigation into the case. SC reaches out to Khan’s legal heirs.

January 3, 2019: SC issues interim order in the case.

January 10, 2019: Asghar Khan’s legal heirs submit a reply in the apex court rejecting the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) recommendation to close the case.

January 12, 2019: The court decides not to close the Asghar Khan case while rejecting the FIA’s recommendation. Justice (r) Mian Saqib Nisar says that the Pakistani military is not exempt from SC’s jurisdiction.

January 18, 2019: SC issues a two-page written order and summons secretary defence to appear in person in court.

February 9, 2019: FIA seeks the Supreme Court’s help in collecting evidence as Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa forms a new bench to listen to the case after it is dissolved due to Justice Nisar’s retirement.

February 11, 2019: Court gives four weeks to Defence Ministry to submit reply on the implementation of its 2012 verdict. Justice Gulzar questions why ‘court-martial’ was not initiated.