News Analysis |
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government in its last cabinet meeting on Thursday, decided not to implement Supreme Court’s verdict in the Asghar Khan case. The next government will now have to ponder to implement the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
On May 09, Apex Court had granted one week’s time to the federal government to come out with a strategy to ensure implementation of its judgment delivered in the Asghar Khan case. The political analysts believe that the cabinet members suggested that thorough review of the case is needed to implement the Apex Court’s orders. Resultantly, it decided to leave the matter for the next government.
CJP Saqib Nidar expressed serious concerns over federal government’s failure to implement the orders of 2012 judgment in Asghar Khan Case. While heading a bench at the Lahore registry of the Apex Court, he lambasted the previous government and attorney general for showing lack of seriousness in what he termed ‘a very important case’.
IJI was comprised of nine parties including the Pakistan Muslim League, National Peoples Party and Jamaat-e-Islami. Civil forces colluded with military establishment to make this alliance to oppose the PPP.
Responding to CJP, an additional attorney general explained that it will take some time to call the federal government meeting. CJP refused to allow more time. After some time the bench was told the same day that meeting of the cabinet will take place at 3 pm.
Earlier, the Apex Court had rejected the review petition of former Chief of army staff (COAS) General Mirza Aslam Beg and ex-spymaster of ISI DG Lieutenant General Asad Durrani against the 2012 Asghar Khan case judgment.
The court ordered the attorney general Ashtar Ausaf to ask the government to call a special session of the cabinet to determine what action would be taken against Mr. Beg and Mr. Durrani for rigging the 1990 elections.
Case History and 2012 Verdict
About 16-years ago in 1996, late Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan had filed a petition in which he accused the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of giving cash to different politicians from Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI). It is believed that Rs140 million was used to manipulate the 1990 elections to defeat the Benazir led PPP. The bench headed by the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was comprised of Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain.
In its short order, on October 19, 2012, the SC ruled that, “the general election held in the year 1990 was subjected to corruption and corrupt practices as in view of the overwhelming material produced by the parties during hearing it has been established that an “Election Cell” had been created in the Presidency, which was functioning to provide financial assistance to the favored candidates, or a group of political parties to achieve the desired result by polluting election process and to deprive the people of Pakistan from being represented by their chosen representatives.”
The political analysts believe that the cabinet members suggested that thorough review of the case is needed to implement the Apex Court’s orders. Resultantly, it decided to leave the matter for the next government.
All the accused had participated in the unlawful activities of the Election Cell in violation of the responsibilities of the Army and ISI as institutions which is an act of individuals but not of institutions represented by them. The former generals acted on their own volition.
Read more: Remembering Air Marshal Asghar Khan
Federal Government’s Reluctance
The verdict stressed on the role of armed forces but avoided making direct references to politicians who were the beneficiaries of this sell-out. The Islamic Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) had won the 1990 elections and Nawaz Sharif became the PM for the first time. IJI was comprised of nine parties including the Pakistan Muslim League, National Peoples Party and Jamaat-e-Islami. Civil forces colluded with military establishment to make this alliance to oppose the PPP.
Three-times PM Nawaz Sharif was the biggest beneficiary of the election cell. But the court was reluctant to name and shame him in its verdict. The independent judiciary and judicial activism of former CJP Iftikhar and CJ Saqib have been able to challenge the all-powerful generals. But the federal government has failed to act decisively against the responsible persons both in politics and in the military.