ISLAMABAD - Chief Election Commissioner, Justice (Retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim’s ‘unhappiness’ over Supreme Court’s verdict appears to have stood in stark contradictions with the prevailing scenario while the factual indicators speak otherwise.

In a seemingly surprising statement, the CEC had shared his concerns with the journalists on Monday over the SC decision in the said case ahead of the general polls, saying the decision could impact the elections. The Apex Court’s decision, according to CEC, could fuel political instability and stir a new controversy in the wake of the general polls being around the corner.

Termed as a milestone judgement, the Supreme Court’s last week decision against the two former generals has earned wide appreciation from the public and political quarters. Pakistan’s leading politicians have been often quoted in the national media as speaking high of a decision that looks to have made a big headway in putting a stop to the intelligence agencies’ role in the politics. The CEC did not explain as to what made the same decision ‘controversial’ and a cause of ‘political instability’ when the court’s ruling is seen as a floodgate against foul play in electoral process.

“Uncalled-for, unnecessary and completely blown out of proportion,” Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira reacted to the CEC statement. “I don’t know what made a reasonable and respectable figure like Justice Fakhruddin to utter such strange remarks,” he told TheNation, when approached. “The reality goes the other way around.”

“The SC has righted a historical wrong that was done with the connivance of generals and politicians. It took 16 years for the court to deliver justice. How much should we have waited more?” he said referring to the CEC’s comments that the arrival of the SC decision after 16 years but ahead of the general polls had made the Apex Court ‘controversial.’

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Kaira said, was ‘unduly cornered’ in the 1990 elections against the public will. “And now when the SC has taken a laudable stand against intelligence agencies’ role in politics, we are to hear from a top electoral official that it would fuel political instability. This is very unfortunate and regrettable. Election commission is entrusted with a very important responsibility, its bosses should act responsibly.”

Last week, the SC had ordered the government to initiate criminal proceedings against former Army Chief General (Retd) Mirza Aslam Baig and former Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General (Retd) Asad Durrani for their involvement in rigging 1990 elections.

Both the generals were instrumental in creating Islami Jamhori Ittehad (IJI) an establishment-backed political alliance against the Benazir Bhuto-led PPP, formed after doling out money to the politicians, which caused the PPP’s defeat in the said general elections.

In 1993, former Air Chief Asghar Khan had moved SC against foul play in the 1990 general elections. The case is also known as Mehrangate scandal.

The CEC Justice (Retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim had also contended the day before yesterday that the ECP did not have any constitutional or electoral powers to take to task the politicians involved in Mehrangate scandal. On Sunday, TheNation had first quoted the CEC as saying the same in its story, “Laws render ECP toothless against guilty.”

Some political bigwigs alleged to have received heavy bribes in the 1990 polls include four former prime ministers of Pakistan: Nawaz Sharif, Muhammad Khan Junejo, Mir Zafarullah Jamali and Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi. Other prominent politicians include Pir Pagara (late) and Jam Sadiq Ali (late).

In a conversation with this newspaper last Saturday, Member National Assembly (MNA) and former Governor Balochistan Lt Gen (Retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch had lauded the SC judgement in Mehrangate scandal, saying that it was a landmark development towards purging Pakistani politics from agencies role. “It’s high time, the agencies should be kept out of politics,” he had said while demanding trial of the two retired generals involved in Mehrangate scandal under civilian accountability set-up.