Nawaz submits reply in Asghar Khan case, denies receiving Rs3.5mn from Durrani

Arshad Waheed Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif through his counsel submitted his reply in the Asghar Khan case in the Supreme Court on Saturday.

Nawaz, in the four-page reply, states that he never received Rs3.5 million from Lt. General (retd) Asad Durrani or under his instructions from his representatives as a donation to spend on the general election campaign of 1990.

Nawaz also denied receiving an amount in the sum of Rs3.5 million and Rs2.5 million from Younus Habib or under his instructions.

The reply adds that Nawaz Sharif has already recorded his statement on October 14, 2015 before the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) inquiry committee.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had directed 31 respondents including Nawaz Sharif to submit written replies by June 9 in the Asghar Khan case. Nawaz, who failed to appear before the bench hearing the case, was allowed to be represented by a lawyer.

Jamaat-e-Islami's response

The emir of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Sirajul Haq also submitted response in the case, denying having received money during 1990 elections.

Haq stated the JI did not receive money from anyone, adding that he was ready to appear before any commission of forum being the head of the party.

He further noted that his party voluntarily became part of court proceedings in 2007 and submitted an affidavit that allegations against the JI were not true.

The case

On October 19, 2012, the Supreme Court issued a 141-page verdict, ordering legal proceedings against Gen (retd) Aslam Beg and Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani in a case filed 16 years ago by former air chief Air Marshal Asghar Khan.

Khan, who passed away in January this year, was represented in the Supreme Court by renowned lawyer Salman Akram Raja.

Khan had petitioned the Supreme Court in 1996 alleging that the two senior army officers and the then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan had doled out Rs140 million among several politicians ahead of the 1990 polls to ensure Benazir Bhutto's defeat in the polls.

The Islamic Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), consisting of nine parties including the Pakistan Muslim League, National Peoples Party and Jamaat-e-Islami, had won the 1990 elections, with Nawaz Sharif being elected prime minister. The alliance had been formed to oppose the Benazir Bhutto-led Pakistan Peoples Party.

In 1996, Khan had written a letter to the then Supreme Court Chief Justice Nasim Hassan Shah naming Beg, Durrani and Younis Habib, the ex-Habib Bank Sindh chief and owner of Mehran Bank, about the unlawful disbursement of public money and its misuse for political purposes.

The 2012 apex court judgment, authored by the then-Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry, had directed the Federal Investigation Agency to initiate a transparent investigation and subsequent trial if sufficient evidence is found against the former army officers.

The investigation is yet to conclude.