LANDMARK JUDGEMENTS OF PAK SC; ORDERS ARMY, ISI TO STAY OFF POLITICS
| Virendra Kumar Gaur, Former IG, BSF - 16 Feb 2019

LANDMARK JUDGEMENTS OF PAK SC; ORDERS ARMY, ISI TO STAY OFF POLITICS

The Pakistan order of precedence places Chief of staff and army chief at 6th place, a corps commander and PSO, in the rank of Lt Gen, are at the 10th place where as a judge of SC has 12th precedence ranking. Surprisingly, DG ISI is placed at 7th place.

By V K GAUR

New Delhi, February 16, 2019: While the whole world is talking about Pakistan abetted Terror attack in Awantipora under Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, and India is gearing up to give a befitting reply to those responsible and behind these ghastly and cowardly attack, it is also important to keep watch on the developments inside this rogue state. Thus, here comes news from Islamabad, which will surely upset Pakistani Intelligence Agency ISI, the mastermind of all such Terror Conspiracies and attacks in India.

The jurist clan and intellectuals of the Indian subcontinent have hailed two landmark judgments of Pak Supreme court. The Air Marshal (retired) Asghar Khan case and the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian daily wage earner who was taken off gallows, are legendary.

Asghar Khan who died at the age of 97 on January 18, had filed a case in 1996 in the Supreme Court alleging doling out Rs 140 million public money to politicians before 1990 elections.  (Rs.80 million were reportedly earmarked for operation K by ISI. K here may mean Kashmir)

A bench of Supreme court on 11, Feb 19, directed the Ministry of Defence(MOD) to complete any inquiry against Pakistan Army officers who distributed millions of rupees among politicians and public figures to manipulate the 1990 elections, within one month. The SC also had directed the Federal Investigating Agency (FIA)to conduct a transparent investigation. SC bench was hearing the case related to the implementation of its 2012 verdict in the Asghar Khan case.MOD failed to initiate court martial proceedings against the delinquent officers.

The court observed that it seemed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had also lost interest in the case.

The court ordered the defense ministry to ensure that its orders were implemented in four weeks.

In its reply, the ministry contended that the inquiry process was underway and that further action could not be taken till its completion.

The Attorney General said that court-martial proceedings could be initiated at any point in cases where losses were inflicted upon the national exchequer.

According to the FIA, one of the factors hindering the investigation was that “no army officer gave any statement of handing over money to any private person directly. Documents provided by Brig (R) Hamid Saeed show that money was distributed in Sindh, however, the names of officers who actually distributed the money were not disclosed. Moreover, the receipts of the receiver politicians, as mentioned by Brig (R) Hamid Saeed, have not been provided to FIA. 

“The intelligence agency team responsible for distribution of funds in Punjab and elsewhere could not be ascertained despite FIA writing to M.O.D (ministry of defense) asking about whereabouts of intelligence agency personnel mentioned at para-9 of the Honourable Supreme Court’s judgment dated 19-10-2012,” said the FIA.

The agency also admitted that it had failed to verify the money trail. “Certain bank details have not been provided, which would complete the money trail required for prosecution purposes.”

Earlier the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) recommended to the Supreme Court to close the case filed by the late air chief Air Marshal Asghar Khan.

The FIA in its report submitted to the SC stated that there is "not enough evidence to continue investigating" the case. “There are contradictions in the statements of the witnesses,” the report said.

Furthermore, the report stated that the case is more than 25 years old and no record of bank transactions could be found.

"Politicians who were accused of taking money have also denied the allegations," the government reply further read.

On October 19, 2012, the Supreme Court gave a verdict, ordering legal proceedings against Gen (retired) Aslam Beg and Lt Gen (retired) Asad Durrani in a case filed in1996 by former air chief Air Marshal Asghar Khan.

Khan had filed a case in 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 JamhooriIttehad (IJI), consisting of nine parties including the Pakistan Muslim League, National Peoples Party and Jamaat-e-Islami, had won the 1990 elections. Nawaz Sharif was 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 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 October 19, 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.

Pakistan's Supreme Court on 6 February 2019 prohibited members of the armed forces from engaging in political activities and directed state agencies like the Inter-Services Intelligence to operate within the law as it ordered the government to act against those propagating 'hatred, extremism and terrorism'.

The order by a two-member bench of the apex court came while delivering a verdict on the 2017 Faizabad sit-in by the hardline Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and other smaller groups.

The court also directed all government institutions including those run by the army like the ISI, to operate within the limits defined by the law. SC also directed the chiefs of three wings of armed forces to initiate action against those who violated their oath.

 Armed Forces personnel were prohibited from any kind of political activity, including supporting a party, faction or individual.

Political observers are of the view that Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power with the active support of the army and covert operations of ISI in general election 2019. It is relevant to recall that Pakistan intermittently has been ruled by military dictators for about three decades.

Its military plays a crucial role in major decision making at the national level. (At times Pak army bye passed its PM and the democratic government channels while executing military operations and covert operations including promoting insurgency and terrorism beyond its territory. Its ISI is regularly used for such purposes.

During Benazir Bhutto’s regime Pak army conducted exercise on Indo Pak borders. Mrs. Benazir asked the army to seek her permission to conduct such exercise beforehand. The then Pak Army chief literally rebuffed the PM saying he needed no approval from any one to train his army anywhere within Pakistan. The PM could do nothing. Pak ISI called her security risk when she attempted to block uranium enrichment in Pak against US instructions.)

TheApex court also outlawed religious edicts called fatwas that aimed to harm others.

"A person issuing an edict or fatwa, which harms another or puts another in harm's way, must be criminally prosecuted under the Pakistan Penal Code, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and/or the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016," the court ruled.

Above judgements have hurt Army elite and outlawed religious organisations. Army is most unlikely take it lying down. Its ISI is powerful. It does not hesitate hitting below the belt.

There are whispers in the corridor of power that SC has crossed Lakshman rekha.

The Pakistan order of precedence places Chief of staff and army chief at 6th place, a corps commander and PSO, in the rank of Lt Gen, are at the 10th place where as a judge of SC has 12th precedence ranking. Surprisingly, DG ISI is placed at 7th place.

Will the mighty -haughty armed force leadership accept the SC orders to complete disciplinary proceedings in four weeks? It may be interesting to watch military and law and orders developments in Pakistan. With its long hands and countless secret eyes, ISI conducts covert operations with complete disregard to the law of humanity.

Photo – Courtesy Google

(The writer Mr. VK Gaur is former IG, BSF and has written more than 50 Books on the issues related to Defence, Strategy and Internal security.)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Indian Observer Post and Indian Observer Post does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.


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