ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court yesterday issued notice to legal heirs of Asghar Khan to assist what should be the future course of action in the case after Federal Investigation Agency recommended its closure.

A two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan heard the matter regarding progress on top court’s 2012 judgment’s implementation in the case, wherein it was alleged that military establishment doled out millions of rupees to buy loyalty of politicians and public figures to manipulate 1990 general elections to block victory of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

During the course of hearing, report of FIA was read wherein it was submitted that there were gaps in statements of important witnesses and they were not in conformity with each other.

“Self evidentiary record regarding receipt, mode and time of payments to alleged recipients is not available with the persons who have been acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case,” it added.

The report further stated that record regarding accurate amount deposited in each alleged account is separately not visible, even the banks concerned did not provide the complete/ requisite record appropriately at this belated stage i.e. 24 years. “All (alleged) politicians who were associated with the enquiry proceedings have denied the allegation of receipt of any money,” it added.

The judgement date October 19, 2012 after hearing all parties in depth had concluded that ‘no convincing and legally acceptable evidence was brought on record by the former Director General Inter-Services Intelligence Asad Durrani regarding the disbursement of amount to different persons’.

“Hence, at this stage evidence available with FIA is still not sufficient on the basis of which criminal proceedings may be initiated. Matter merits to be closed,” FIA recommended. 

During the course of hearing, Director General FIA Bashir Memon contended before the bench that the case was initiated based on newspaper reports. He further contended that agency tried to gather evidence.

Justice Ahsan observed that accused persons cannot be convicted on mere news clippings.

The top court observed that since the proceedings were initiated on request by late air marshal Asghar Khan so notice be issued to legal heirs to assist court for future course. 

The order dictated by the chief justice further stated that retired officers are being probed by court of inquiry, and necessary action be taken by the armed forces. The top court adjourned the matter for a week.

Meanwhile, the same bench decided to hold in-camera proceedings of the Memogate case.

Amicus curie in the case Ahmer Bilal Sufi informed the bench that developments have been made regarding extradition of former envoy to US Hussain Haqqani.

He, however, requested for in-camera proceedings. The bench accepting the request adjourned the hearing for an indefinite time.

In 2011, former Pakistan ambassador to US Hussain Haqqani had allegedly delivered a memo to former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen through Mansoor Ijaz. The memo allegedly had requested US for its support to Pakistani civilian government against its military establishment after May 2 raid.

Haqqani in his undertaking submitted with the top court had assured it that he would return and appear before the court if and when required.

A FIR registered on March 10, 2018 against Haqqani stated, “it revealed that accused Hussain Haqqani during his posting as ambassador of Pakistan in USA (from May 2008 to November 2011) in collaboration with other concerned officers/officials misused his official position, committed cheating, criminal breach of trust and misappropriated approximately USD 2 million of national exchequer of Pakistan per year dishonestly and fraudulently.”

During the FIA’s investigation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs had confirmed the release of USD 4.1 million during 18th August 2008 to 15 November 2011.

According to the FIA’s progress report as of August 30 of 2018, interim challan of the case has been submitted in the court of Special Judge Central on August 7.