News Analysis |
The Supreme Court (SC) has directed all the respondents in the Asghar Khan Case to file their written replies before 9th June, Saturday, along with adjourning the hearing of the case three-member bench of Supreme Court, presided over by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar, took up the Asghar Khan Verdict Implementation Case for hearing, on Wednesday.
Late Asghar Khan, born in 1921, was originally a military man in India (pre-partition), who joined Pakistani Politics after retirement from the Pakistani Air Force (post-partition). Khan stood for and then lost the general elections held in 1993, upon which he leveled accusations on the military of financing the conservative PML (N) and PPP – for rigging political elections in the country. He eventually took his case to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which is still pending.
Late Asghar Khan, born in 1921, was originally a military man in India (pre-partition), who joined Pakistani Politics after retirement from the Pakistani Air Force (post-partition).
Since the beginning, Asghar Khan remained exceedingly critical of the Pak Army and its involvement in the country’s politics. Time and again, he urged the civilians to increase their control over the army to allow for the unhindered development of the nation’s economy; and also blamed the military for attempting to cause rifts to worsen indo-pak relations. These anti-army views and chants also led to his imprisonment in 1980.
Remembering Asghar Khan
In 1970, Asghar Khan started the ‘Tehreek-i-Istiqlal’, a centrist secular party and contested in the 1970 general elections, but failed to secure any seats. He raised his voice for the resolution of the political turmoil in Pakistan. During Bhutto’s rule, he played a major rule in opposition. Khan allied his party with the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) against Bhutto and was imprisoned for it. After Bhutto’s era, Asghar Khan became active again in opposition to General Zia Ul Haq, he was imprisoned again and he remained under house arrest for more than five years. He was named ‘a prisoner of conscience’ by Amnesty International.
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been absent to deal with this case, despite being summoned by the Supreme Court. However, counsels of several politicians and Javed Hashmi have made appearances. The Chief Justice inquired, “Where is Mian Nawaz Sharif? He was served notice. Why has he not come? This is court’s order and everyone will have to come. Nawaz Sharif should come here and tell us if he had received money or otherwise Nawaz Sharif will have to join the investigation at every cost. Send his counsel if he has anyone”.
Since the beginning, Asghar Khan remained exceedingly critical of the Pak Army and its involvement in the country’s politics. Time and again, he urged the civilians to increase their control over the army to allow for the unhindered development of the nation’s economy.
The Attorney General informed the court that Nawaz Sharif might be in the Accountability Court (AC) at the time. His appearance in the trial also holds importance. Nawaz Sharif is supposedly arranging a counsel and will appear through them. The Government has assigned the matter of army officers to the Pakistan army, as they believe that the army should also see this matter as per their law while FIA tends to the matter of civilians.
Read more: Remembering Air Marshal Asghar Khan
Former Army Chief Gen (Retd) Mirza Aslam Beg prayed for court to decide his case and not the army. Upon which the Chief Justice remarked “You please file application we will review it” and indirectly asked him to not intervene. The court then directed all the respondents to file the replies, in writing, till Saturday and then proceeded to adjourn the hearing of the case.
The Supreme Court has issued notices to 21 civilians, including former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Javed Hashmi, Abida Hussain, DG NAB, DG FIA, army officers related to the case and former chief of ISI Lt Gen (Retd) Asad Durrani. No one is held above the law, however, we have seen people with influence slip under it time and again – hopefully not this time.