FIA summons ex-army chief in Asghar Khan case

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ISLAMABAD: In an unusual development, a government department has shown the ‘audacity’ to summon a former army chief in connection with a famous case involving the payment of alleged bribe amounting in billions of rupees to get Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) defeated in 1990 general polls. In this connection, a fresh notice has been served to the former chief of army staff (COAS) General (R) Aslam Beg by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to appear before the Agency’s inquiry committee regarding Asghar Khan case, Daily Times learnt on good authority on Friday. 


In an unusual development, a government department has shown the ‘audacity’ to summon a former army chief in connection with a famous case involving the payment of alleged bribe amounting in billions of rupees to get Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) defeated in 1990 general polls.


In this connection, a fresh notice has been served to the former chief of army staff (COAS) General (R) Aslam Beg by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to appear before the Agency’s inquiry committee regarding Asghar Khan case, Daily Times learnt on good authority on Friday.
Interior Ministry ordered the FIA to record statements of politicians as well as Aslam Beg and Asad Durrani, former DG ISI, and present a report soon,  an official at FIA shared with this correspondent.
Official said the former army chief has sought some time for appearing before the inquiry committee . “My personal secretary will inform you regarding the meeting only when I have time to show up,” the source quoted the proud retired general as telling the FIA men.
This correspondent called Aslam Beg and also dropped a text message for his version on the issue but he did not respond or get back till the filing of this report Friday night.
Last year, the FIA team, headed by the Director-General, Muhammad Ghalib Bandesha, had launched a probe into Asghar Khan’s claims, every trail of which leads to Gen® Aslam Beg. Gen ® Pervez Musharraf, another powerful army chief of his time and a former president, also lands in hot waters as the same panel probes high treason charges against him. 
Asghar Khan, a former air chief, had accused Beg and Durrani of doling out millions of rupees to several politicians ahead of the 1990 polls. Formed with the apparent blessings of the military establishment, the Islamic Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), that comprised of nine political parties including the Pakistan Muslim League, National Peoples Party and Jamaat-e-Islami, had won the 1990 elections, with Nawaz Sharif elected as Prime Minister. The conservative political alliance had been formed to push to wall the PPP.
During course of related proceedings,  the retired air chief marshal had told the FIA committee that Pakistan Army’s service rules were violated when the then army chief Aslam Beg and ISI chief Asad Durrani not only got engaged into political affairs but also protected the illegal and unconstitutional practices they and their subordinates had committed.
“We wrote a letter to the Ministry of Defence requesting it to provide investigation record of the Asghar Khan case which is available with ISI, through Interior Ministry. The letter declared that the records are either with the ISI or at the GHQ in Rawalpindi, as both are linked with the case,” the FIA source said.
The apex court judgment in Asghar Khan case had directed the government to initiate a transparent investigation and subsequent trial if sufficient evidence was found.  The FIA, it is learnt, is probing the case ‘very minutely’. According to the FIA official, sufficient evidence could not be found during the course of the inquiry to initiate criminal proceedings against the politicians, who allegedly received unlawful, unconstitutional and unauthorised help in the form of funds from the ISI and MI spent on their respective election campaigns during the general election of 1990.
 “Our whole stance is based on the Supreme Court judgment directing the authority to initiate a transparent investigation and subsequent trial if sufficient evidence is found,” the FIA insider stated. On October 19, 2012, the apex court issued a 141-page verdict, ordering legal proceedings against former army chief and DG ISI in a case filed 16 years ago by Asghar Khan.

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