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Why Nawaz will have to pay the price for his part in pre-poll rigging in 1990 elections?

1990 elections
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The Supreme Court adjourned the hearing of the Asghar Khan case till June 12, after directing ousted Prime Minister Nawaz to appear before the court on Wednesday morning. All the 31 respondents in the famous Asghar Khan case were asked to submit written replies by June 9.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar headed the three-member bench which resumed the case hearing regarding the implementation of the Asghar Khan case. The Apex Court had summoned the Nawaz Sharif in person since he was the biggest beneficiary of the pre-poll rigging in 1990 general elections.

On June 2, SC had issued to Nawaz and Javed Hashmi along with other civilians named in the case. Why didn’t he [Nawaz Sharif] appear before the court, despite being served the notices? CJP asked.  People must adhere to the court order, it was all over the media that Nawaz is summoned in the court pertaining to Asghar Khan Case.

In his absence, Hashmi was asked if he had received the money? He told the court that he had already faced the National Accountability Bureau case for five-years, and was granted a clean chit on corruption charges.

According to the Section 190 of the constitution, “all executive and judicial authorities throughout Pakistan shall act in aid of the Supreme Court.” Nawaz never paid heed to this when was in power and even now, he seems alienated to the fact.

Despite the Court’s orders, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government decided not to implement the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Asghar Khan case. In its last cabinet meeting, it left to the next government to deliberate over 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.

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.

Read more: Reviewing Asghar Khan case is damaging for Nawaz Sharif only

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.

The Supreme Court adjourned the hearing of the Asghar Khan case till June 12, after directing ousted Prime Minister Nawaz to appear before the court on Wednesday morning. All the 31 respondents in the famous Asghar Khan case were asked to submit written replies by June 9.

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 favoured candidates, or a group of political parties to achieve the desired result by polluting election process and to deprive the people of Pakistan of being represented by their chosen representatives.”

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 of their own volition.

Read more: PML-N government failed to implement SC’s order in Asghar Khan Case

Federal Government’s Reluctance

CJP Saqib Nidar expressed serious concerns over federal government’s failure to implement the orders of 2012 judgment in Asghar Khan Case. He lambasted the PML-N government and attorney general for showing lack of seriousness in what he termed ‘a very important case’. The verdict stressed on the role of armed forces but avoided making direct references to politicians who were the direct 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.

Nawaz must Pay the Price

Three-time PM Nawaz Sharif who 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.

If the government shows will, for being an alleged illegal recipient of money from ISI, it could have dire consequences for Nawaz Sharif [Who is already embroiled in accountability court cases].

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 of their own volition.

According to the Section 190 of the constitution, “all executive and judicial authorities throughout Pakistan shall act in aid of the Supreme Court.” Nawaz never paid heed to this when was in power and even now, he seems alienated to the fact.

Read more: Asghar Khan case: The ugly truth about Pakistani politics

Nawaz had always been sitting in a time bomb, any previous CJP could have revived the case to close the chapter of Sharif’s politics. But, previous CJP’s remained lenient to Nawaz and they turned a blind eye to his alleged corruption and gross misdemeanors. Any previous CJP could have taken the suo moto over his involvement in the case.

Time is up for Nawaz apparently, now, he must pay the price for his wrongdoings. Collaborators have turned into a nemesis. Nawaz is very much vocal over pre-poll rigging as institutions have turned against him. But before all this, he must answer, if he took money for pre-poll rigging.


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