ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has decided not to appear before the Supreme Court in the Asghar Khan case on Friday.
During hearing of the case earlier this week, a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar had directed 31 respondents, including Nawaz and Javed Hashmi, to submit written replies by June 9 (Saturday).
The apex court during its last hearing had also summoned Nawaz, who failed to appear before the bench. He was subsequently allowed by the court to be represented by a lawyer.
According to sources, Nawaz decided not to appear before the court after consultation with legal experts.
The sources confirmed that Barrister Munawar Iqbal Duggal will represent the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz quaid in the case. The counsel will also submit Nawaz’s response in the court on his behalf.
Asghar Khan 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.
That investigation is yet to conclude.