Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his statement submitted to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) said that, “he did not receive any money from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) during the 1990s polls, adding that if proved otherwise, he would return the amount with interest,” according to media reports.
A senior FIA official, seeking anonymity,said earlier yesterday that the premier further told the investigators that during the polls, different people contributed to campaign funds and it was difficult to qualify and quantify it. “If, however, the inquiry finds that such a transaction did take place, I won’t have a problem returning the amount with interest,” the premier added. He said that he, too, contributed to the party campaign fund that year and he continued to do so to this day.
An FIA team led by its Karachi Director Shahid Hayat is investigating the Asghar Khan case.FIA Punjab Director Dr Usman Anwar and FIA Islamabad Director Economic Crime Wing (ECW) Sardar Zaheer are other members of the team formed early this year to rev up the inquiry.
Shahid Hayat has recorded statements of all the accused politicians of Sindh, Dr Usman Anwar recorded statements of all the politicians of Punjab while Sardar Zaheer of those belonging to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Balochistan and Islamabad.
Earlier, the Interior Ministry constituted a four-member inquiry team of senior FIA officials in 2014 including the then acting director general Ghalib Bandesha, Dr Usman Anwar, Qudratullah Murawat and Najaf Mirza for the probe. Owing to some transfers/postings, the team was reconstituted.
So far, the FIA has recorded the statements of Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan, former ISI chief Lt General (retd) Asad Durrani, former chief executive of the now defunct Mehran Bank Younis Habib, former Pakistan Ambassador to the USA Syeda Abida Hussain, former Punjab governor Ghulam Mustafa Khar, advocate Yousuf Memon, journalist Altaf Hassain Qureshi and over a dozen former government employees and officials of secret agencies.
Syeda Abida Hussain, Ghulam Mustafa Khar and Altaf Hassain Qureshi have rejected the allegations of receiving any amount from the ISI in the 1990s.Moreover, Javed Hashmi in his statement has also rejected the allegations of receiving any money from the ISI. NAB had already investigated these allegations during Musharraf regime, but nothing came out and he was declared as innocent, an FIA official, quoting the statement of the veteran politician told ‘The News’.
According to another FIA official, Javed Hashmi was the sole politician who was allegedly given the money directly through his bank account.This correspondent tried to contact Javed Hashmi but he was not available for his comments.
Spokesman for the Prime Minister Musaddiq Malik was not available for comments on Wednesday despite that repeated attempts were made at his cell phone number through calls and text messages. Shahid Hayat too not responded to calls made at his cell phone number.
When contacted on Wednesday, commenting on the statement of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in which he claimed that the inquiry team was facing difficulties getting the statement of certain army personnel, the former Army Chief Gen (R) Aslam Beg said that he could not record his statement as his review petition, regarding the same case was pending with the Supreme Court (SC).
“Until SC decides about my review petition, I will not record my statement to the FIA,” he said. On being asked if he had been summoned to record his statement on the issue, he commented in a rather sarcastic tone, “They cannot summon me, they, however, have sent me a questionnaire, a couple of times.”
It is pertinent to mention here that the FIA inquiry team was set up after a three-member bench of the Supreme Court comprising the then Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, had given a verdict in the Asghar Khan Case on October 19, 2012.
The Supreme Court ruled, “The 1990 polls were rigged and that action should be taken against former COAS General (R) Mirza Aslam Beg and former ISI chief Lt Gen (R) Asad Durrani for violating the Constitution by manipulating the 1990 elections.
The apex court had directed the federal government to take necessary action under the Constitution and the law against Gen (R) Aslam Beg and Lt Gen (R) Asad Durrani for their role in facilitating a group of politicians and political parties to ensure their success against their rivals in the 1990 elections.
Similarly, the court had observed the legal proceeding be initiated against politicians, who had received donations to spend on election campaigns. “Therefore, transparent investigation on the criminal side shall be initiated by the FIA against all of them and if sufficient evidence is collected, they shall be sent up to face the trial, according to law,” the judgment says.