Mis – judgement by the Supreme Court, Sajjad Ahmad
London, MTT News Desk: Today is sad day in the history of Pakistan. The Supreme Court indicted the former Chief of Army Staff, General Aslam Beg, and former DG of ISI, Lieut General Asad Durrani for manipulating the elections of 1990.
Both of these old soldiers had acted honourably throughput the sixteen years over which the trial was held. They told the truth; they accepted that money obtained by dubious means from a bank had indeed been distributed among those who were taken into confidence about the rationale and their role in helping to defeat the then newly dismissed Prime Minister Late Ms Benazir Bhutto.
General Durrani gave to the court the details of the money distributed. He was forthright as were all the retired military officers in accepting responsibility for an act which was obviously suspect in the eyes of law. But they were discreet in explaining the reason for the act.
General Asad Durrani as well as Brigadier Hamid Saeed handed over to the court in writing the reason for their action, which was not read in the open court or made a part of the recorded evidence. Both these officers who were not represented by a lawyer in the Supreme Court must have believed that the SC would take into account their written evidence.
But what came out in the judgement was that they the plea for having acted in national interest was not accepted.
Since I know both the officers personally and well and have spoken to them in recent months, I am aware of what their plea. Their case is as follows:
- Counter- intelligence i.e. keeping an eye on the Intelligence operatives of foreign countries and their links inside Pakistan, is statutory responsibility of MI, ISI and IB. Their area of responsibility is different but the areas do overlap.
- If they discover in the course of their work that an official however high or low is in contact with an enemy operative or agent they put him under surveillance. They send a report to the head of the department when they find an official engaged in suspicious activities.
- When the person they observe to be engaged in suspicious activity is as high as the Prime Minster herself, what do they do? That was dilemma faced by General Asad Durrani. He reported the matter to the COAS who informed the President Ghulam Ishaq Khan. The three met and decided that since Ms. Benazir Bhutto had already been dismissed for corruption, the only course was to make it certain that she did not come back to power.
- Ms Benazir Bhutto was not likely to win the 19990 elections but to make that certain it was decided to discreetly share the intelligence with certain quarters.
- That is how the charge of her being a security risk became public. Clearly, a clandestine operation was carried out to thwart Benazir Bhutto who had contacts with Indian intelligence operatives. They intelligence agencies could not afford another fiasco like that over Agartalla Conspiracy. But one serious mistake was made. It was made by General Asad Durrani who was sympathetic to the PPP. He was clearly wrong to have given the details of a clandestine operation that he was sworn to keep confidential. What was worse was that he gave the affidavit to one MR REHMAN MALIK.
- All the others who were given details of the intelligence against Benazir Bhutto in 1990 have acted correctly and honourably by not disclosing it. To lie in order to keep secret information secret is not a lie; it is a duty under the official secrets act.
- Today t is a sad day in the history of Pakistan as sad as the day the Supreme Court invoked the Doctrine of Necessity to keep two usurpers General Zia ul Haq and General Pervaiz Musharraf in power. The laughable irony is that the Army Chiefs who carried out coup détat in 1971 and 1999 were never indicted but the ONE Army Chief and DG ISI who revealed the intelligence about the suspect activities of a Prime Minster stand convicted.
One hopes that in the detailed judgement the Supreme Court would find a way to reveal the information they have but was not read out in the court. Otherwise, the SC would be complicit in undermining the state just as General Durrani has been both ostensibly to uphold the truth.
Editor In Chief