1990 Poll Rigging: With 3 Top Judges at Helm of Affairs, Asghar Khan Case May See Closure

Jun 3, 2018 (DESPARDES/PKONWEB) — Supreme Court Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday issued notices to ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and twenty other politicians and Army officials in connection with manipulation of 1990 elections which led the conservative right-wing Islami Jamhoori Ittehad front to engineer defeat of Benazir Bhutto led left-of-the-center Pakistan Peoples Party.

The countrywide polls held on 24 October 1990 to elect 217 members of the National Assembly resulted in a surprise victory for IJI, led by Nawaz Sharif — it won 106 seats. Ms Bhutto found herself at the rough end of the process — the PPP-led Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDA) with three other parties: the Tehreek-i-Istaqlal of Asghar Khan, the Shia party Tehreek-i-Nafaz-i-Fiqah-i-Jafria and the Malik Qasim group of the Pakistan Muslim League lost. Sharif became the Prime Minister– once young member of the centrist Tehreek-i-Istiqlal (TI) in the 1970s led by Asghar Khan.

Asghar Khan, on June 16, 1996, wrote to former chief justice Sajjad Ali Shah a letter in connection with the alleged distribution of funds by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) among politicians to engineer the 1990 polls.

The letter contained names of politicians who had allegedly received money from the ISI ahead of the polls. The fund was provided by Younas Habib, the chief executive officer of Habib Bank Limited (HBL), then a government bank.

According to Khan’s letter (Asghar Khan passed away in January this year), Nawaz Sharif in Punjab had received Rs3.5 million; Mir Afzal Khan Rs10 million; Lt General Rafaqat Rs5.6 million [for distributing among journalists]; Abida Hussain Rs1 million, Jamaat-e-Islami Rs5 million and senior journalist Altaf Hussain Qureshi Rs500,000.

In Sindh, Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi received Rs5 million, Jam Sadiq got Rs5 million, Mohammad Khan Junejo Rs250,000, Pir Pagara, Rs2 million, Maulana Salahuddin Rs300,000 and other small groups in Sindh got Rs5.4 million. In Balochistan, Humayun Marri received Rs1.5 million. The letter also contained the names of Bizenjo and Kakar tribes.

16 years after the petition was filed, the SC in its 2012 judgement — penned by then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry — ruled that the 1990 general elections had been polluted by dishing out Rs140 million to a particular group of politicians only to deprive the people of being represented by their chosen representatives.

The apex court in its verdict had said former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan, army chief Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg, and the ISI chief Gen. Durrani, acted in violation of the Constitution by facilitating a group of politicians and political parties, to ensure their success against rival candidates in the general election of 1990.

Last year in May, Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party had announced its decision to file in the top court a petition seeking implementation of the orders of the already decided case.

The apex court led by Justice Saqib Nisar has taken suo motu notice of non-implementation of the verdict in the infamous “Asghar Khan Case”.

Senior politicians Javed Hashmi and Abida Hussain and former ISI chief retired Gen. Asad Durrani are among the group of politicians and army officials who have been issued legal notices by the top court. Officials of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) were also issued notices by the top court.

The top court was informed that the FIA will continue its probe in the Asghar Khan case relating to distribution of funds by the ISI.

Attorney General (AG) Ashtar Ausaf told the court that the federal cabinet decided to implement the court order and said the report has been sealed on his order.

Justice Nisar also asked how the cabinet planned to recover the huge amount of money that had been spent on rigging the elections. Ausaf, however, did not give a specific answer and requested the CJ to seal the report of the cabinet meeting that he had submitted to the court as it was confidential. Justice Nisar granted this request.

During Friday’s hearing, Chief Justice Nisar, irked over the lack of progress in the Asghar Khan case, remarked that the government “ran away” after forming a sub-committee for the implementation of the Asghar Khan case verdict. The Nawaz-led PML-N government ended its tenure on May 31 and a caretaker government is in place led by retired Chief Justice Nasir ul Mulk which until polls are held on July 25 and a new civilian setup takes over thereafter.

“Why hasn’t the federal cabinet done anything regarding the Asghar Khan case verdict,” he questioned, adding that this was a serious case but the government was least concerned about it.

During the last hearing, Justice Nisar had expressed his displeasure over the government’s failure to call for a cabinet meeting to discuss the developments in the Asghar Khan case.

The court had earlier also rejected a review petition by former army chief Gen (retd) Mirza Aslam Beg and Durrani against its 2012 verdict in Asghar Khan case.

The apex court has also sought a reply from the federal government (now caretaker government) regarding implementation of its 2012 verdict.

Legal and political observers say the implementation of the Asghar Khan case may move faster with three judicial albeit constitutional experts presently holding apex positions in the country: Justice Nisar as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; Former Chief Justice Nasir ul Mulk as the Caretaker Prime Minister, and former Justice Javed Iqbal as head of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). All these gentlemen are on record calling for rule of law, accountability in tandem with project democracy.

Lastly, the military has many a times said on record it stands for the same. So does the country’s civil society and the intelligentsia. However, many of the grim reapers and the happy campers of the 1990 polls surprise result are in the Elections 2018 fray. How the chips (verdict implementation) may fall and when could hit some of the fans or splash across the board, observers say the effort is still worth the try.

Other things being equal, the nation goes to polls on July 25 –for the third time in continuity, amid fighting a faceless hybrid war against enemies inside and outside close to its border and the ongoing mega China Pakistan Economic Corridor project on fast track. CPEC will continue regardless of which government comes next, the outgoing PML-N’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had said last week as he handed the baton to former CJ Nasir ul Mulk as caretaker.

As for Asghar Khan, he joined the ranks of men who couldn’t become king. With closure of the case he would become a hero.

Who were the famous winners and losers on 1990 polls?

Famous winners:
Ghulam Ahmed Bilour (NA-1), Arbab Jehangir Khan (NA-2), Ajmal Khan Khattak (NA-4), Mir Afzal Khan (NA-7), Syed Iftikhar Hussain Gillani (NA-9), Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Abbasi (NA-11), Gohar Ayub Khan (NA-13), Fazal Karim Khan Kundi (NA-18), Prince Mohiuddin (NA-24), Haji Nawaz Khokhar (NA-35), Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (NA-36), Nawaz Sharif (NA-48, NA-95 and NA-96 Lahore), Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed (NA-38 Rawalpindi), Muhammad Ijaz-ul-Haq (NA-39 and NA-72), Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan (NA-40 Rawalpindi), Lt. Gen (Retd) Malik Abdul Majid (NA-43), Ch. Altaf Hussain (NA-45), Ehsan-ul-Haq Piracha (NA-47), Anwar Ali Cheema (NA-50), Malik Naeem Khan (NA-51), Maulana Abdul Sattar Niazi (NA-53), Haji Gul Hamid Rokhari (NA-54), Ch. Nazir Ahmed (NA-61), Muhammad Khan Junejo (NA-62), Mian Zahid Sarfraz (NA-64), Ch. Sher Ali (NA-65), Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat (NA-69), Sahibzada Nazir Sultan (NA-70), Ch. Hamid Nasir Chatha (NA-74), Ghulam Dastgir Khan (NA-76), Rana Nazir Ahmed Khan (NA-78), Ch. Tajumul Hussain (NA-80), Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain (NA-81), Ch. Amir Hussain (NA-86), Hamayun Akhtar Khan (NA-92), Aitzaz Ahsan (NA-93), Liaqat Baloch (NA-97), Muhammad Ahshiq Dayyal (NA-100), Rana Tanveer Hussain (NA-101), Birjees Tahir (NA-103), Rai Mansab Ali Khan (NA-105), Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali (NA-106), Yaseen Wattoo (NA-13), Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani (NA-114), Syed Hamid Saeed Kazmi (NA-115), Siddique Khan Kanjo (NA-118), Makhdoom Javed Hashmi (NA-120), Syed Fakhar Imam (NA-121), Ghulam Haider Wyne (NA-123), Mehar Ghulam Farid Kathia (NA-125), Mrs Shehnaz Javed (NA-126), Akbar Ali Bhatti (NA-130), Sardar Farooq Leghari (NA-132 and NA-133), Mir Balakh Sher Mazari (NA-134), Ghulam Mustafa Khar (NA-137 and NA-138), Prince Salahud Din (NA-141), Syed Tasneem Nawaz Gardezi (NA-143), Abdul Sattar Laleka (NA-145), Ch. Abdul Ghafoor (NA-146), Makhdoom Syed Ahmed Alam Anwar (NA-147), Makhdoom Shahabuddin (NA-148), Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmud (NA-150), Khursheed Shah (NA-151), Noor Khan Lund (NA-153), Aftab Shahban Mirani (NA-154), Illahi Bukhsh Soomro (NA-156), Mir Hazar Khan Bijrani (NA-157), Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi (NA-158), Syed Zafar Ali Shah of PPP (NA-159), Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi (NA-160), Pir Syed Abdul Qadir Jillani (NA-163), Begum Nusrat Bhutto (NA-164), Shabbir Ahmed Chandio (NA-165), Benazir Bhutto (NA-166), Makhdoom Amin Faheem (NA-167), Syed Naveed Qamar (NA-170), Abdullah Halepoto (NA-172), Anis Ahmed Khan of MQM (NA-174), Muhammad Khan Junejo (NA-175), Dr. Arbab Ghulam Rahim (NA-176), Syed Ali Gohar Shah (NA-180), Jam Mashooq Ali (NA-181), Kunwar Khalid Younus (NA-186), Dr. Imran Farooq (NA-187), Asif Ali Zardari (NA-189), Dr. Farooq Sattar (NA-190), Wasim Ahmed (NA-196), Mehmood Khan Achakzai (NA-198), Sardar Yaqub Khan Nasir (NA-1990), Yar Muhammad Rind (NA-201), Saleem Akbar Bugti (NA-202), Mir Hasil Bizenjo (NA-205), Jam Yousaf (NA-206) and Mir Bizan Bizanjo (NA-207) etc.

Famous losers:
Benazir Bhutto (NA-1), Aftab Sherpao (NA-2), Abdul Wali Khan (NA-5), Omar Asghar Khan (NA-13), Maulana Fazal ur Rehman (NA-18), Raja Shahid Zafar (NA-39), Dr. Ghulam Hussain (NA-46), Dr. Sher Afghan Khan Niazi (NA-53 and NA-54), Rashid Akbar Nawani (NA-56), Syed Asad Hayat Shah (NA-67), Syed Abida Hussain (NA-69), Mehr Akhtar Abbas Bharwana (NA-70), Qazi Ghias-ud-Din Janbaz (NA-72), Ghulam Sarwar Cheema (NA-74), Nawabzada Ghazanfar Gul (NA-80), Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar (NA-81), late Rafiq Ahmad Sheikh (NA-92), Air Marshal (R) Asghar Khan (NA-95), Jehangir Badar (NA-96), Khawaja Tariq Rahim (NA-97), Malik Meraj Khalid (NA-100), Nisar Ahmad Punnu (NA-101), Sardar Talib Hassan Nakai (NA-108), Rao Sikandar Iqbal (NA-110), Mian Atta Maneka (NA-113), Makhdoom Hamid Raza Gilani (NA-114), Malik Mukhtar Awan (NA-116), Late Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani (NA-116), Rana Shaukat Hayat (NA-119), Pir Muhammad Aslam Bodla (NA-123), Nourez Shakoor (NA-124), Arshad Lodhi (NA-125), Tikka Iqbal (NA-127), Sardar Nasrullah Khan Daraishak (NA-134), Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan (NA-136) and Ghulam Noor Rabbani Khar etc.

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