President Ishaq Khan wanted to get Benazir Bhutto out of politics for forever: SC told

ISLAMABAD: A three-member Supreme Court bench was informed on Wednesday that late President Ghulam Khan wanted to get late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto out and disqualified from politics for forever.

The bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed was hearing a case pertaining to withdrawal of huge amounts of money from Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) accounts by the PPP governments to buy loyalty of politicians in Punjab and other provinces in 1988-1990 and 2008-09.

Appearing on notice, two former Director Generals of IB Masood Sharif Khattak and Tariq Lodhi submitted before the court their written statements over the usage of secret funds. Masood Sharif Khattak told the court that the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan wanted to get the then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto out and disqualified for forever from politics.

He said if he (Masood Sharif) turned approver against Benazir Bhutto, she would be out from politics for forever. Tariq Lodhi requested the court to keep his statement over the misuse of IB’s secret fund secret.

The chief justice noted that all the secret documents pertaining to the matter had come on record. “You can hide information from the whole world but not from the court”, the chief justice asked Tariq Lodhi. The chief justice asked Lodhi to share all the secret information with the court without any hesitation.

The court directed Masood Sharif and Tariq Lodhi to submit within two days their fresh and updated statements over the misuse of secret fund. In his statement Masood Sharif stated that Benazir Bhutto was unable to get intelligence information from the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI), thus she had tried to increase IB’s secret fund to make it effective.

He claimed that there was a hidden hand of then military chief Gen Mirza Aslam Baig and then ISI chief Lt Gen Asad Durrani in the ‘no confidence movement’ against Benazir Bhutto. He again said that if he became approver, Benazir Bhutto would be out of politics for forever.

Attorney General Irfan Qadir appeared for incumbent Director General IB Akhtar Hussain Gorchani. The court directed him to submit within seven days all the legal justifications and objections in the matter. Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing.

The court had taken suo moto notice of a report which appeared in an English daily on March 14, alleging that Rs270 million had been withdrawn by the PPP government to dislodge the Punjab government in 2008-09.
The petitioner had also claimed that in addition to Rs270m, Rs360m had been withdrawn by the PPP government in 1988-1990 to remove the governments in the then NWFP and other provinces.

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