ISLAMABAD: Former Director General Intelligence Bureau (IB) Masood Sharif Khan Khattak on Wednesday submitted a written reply before the Supreme Court, claiming that non-political forces were behind the vote of no-confidence against the elected government of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto during 1989.
He submitted the reply before the three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sh Azmat Saeed that resumed hearing into the allegations regarding misappropriation of the IB’s secret funds during 2008 and 1989.
Khattak, in his nine-page reply naming late President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and former Chief of the Army Staff Gen Mirza Aslam Baig as the most powerful personalities, said that they wanted to keep late Benazir Bhutto out of power through their pre-poll rigging efforts in 1988 elections, which started with the formation of the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI).
He said: “Those, who wanted to keep PPP and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto out of power through pre-poll activity against her, were surely going to also try and remove her from the corridors of power in the shortest possible time frame after they had been forced to hand over power to her due to the weight of the 92 PPP MNAs-elect of that time.”
He said being head of the IB, it was his duty to keep abreast with all such happenings that were aimed at destabilising the constitutionally elected government at that time.
He maintained that they knew about such a move ahead of its tabling in the Parliament.
The former IB chief, referring to the IJI’s vote of no-confidence on October 23, 1989, said that everything was wrong with such a vote when the moving force behind it was not political.
He said that with the with the complete backing of the former COAS Mirza Aslam Baig, the former president, and the then Punjab government, Benazir Bhutto was only reduced to the limits of the federal capital with no access to intelligence from military intelligence agencies, and therefore the ex-PM was heavily dependent upon the IB about such movements.
“I must say here in very unambiguous terms, that even if any government of Pakistan when placed under extreme unconstitutional pressures, does spend any funds to ward off unconstitutional steps aimed at dismantling that government, there would be nothing illegal about,” he added.
He said that he was on the right side of the constitution against extra-constitutional efforts and had to suffer extensively for that reason.
Refuting claims of a report by an English daily, Khattak said that he outrightly denied the aspersions that the amounts during his period as IB chief were distributed right, left and center with ulterior motives.
He said that he had appeared before the Lahore High court during February 1992 and maintained that those funds were indeed spent towards furthering the national interest.
He further said that the case was heard in 1991-92 in the LHC in connection with the accountability cases prepared by the then presidency under the direct supervision of former President GIK and his ‘henchmen’, including Roedad Khan.
Khattak maintained that since 21 years had passed and he did not recollect what he had argued before the LHC, but added: “I do remember having said and conclusively proved before the court that the amounts mentioned were actually spent for the bona fide purposes that they were meant for.”
He contended that since no wrongdoings had been committed in his case, the LHC had shelved the case 21 years ago.
During the hearing, the chief justice directed Khattak to submit his reply with the registrar office.
Masood also apprised the bench that whatever he had written in his reply was based upon his memory and the court could contact the LHC registrar to obtain facts surrounding the case.
Tariq Lodhi, another former DG IB, also appeared in response to a notice and submitted a reply claiming confidentiality.
The bench directed him to go through its earlier order.
It also allowed Attorney General Irfan Qadir to make certain submissions on behalf of the current incumbent DG IB.
The bench told him that whatever objections he had, he could produce them in writing in the next hearing.
The case was adjourned for further hearing to Feb 8.