Rs.400 million distributed among the politicians, Mehran Bank chief admits

Former chief of Mehran Bank, Younis Habib, disclosed before the Supreme Court on Thursday that former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan and former army chief Mirza Aslam Beg pressured him to arrange Rs 1.48 billion, out of which Rs 400 million were distributed among politicians while the remaining sum was invested by secret agencies.
Habib had appeared before a three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, which is hearing Air Marshal (r) Asghar Khan's petition against the alleged use of public money by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to influence the 1990 general election results. The court has sought a detailed report from the Defence Ministry on the ISI's working from 1990 onwards.
Former chief of the defunct Mehran Bank, Younis Habib, former army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg, former ISI chief Asad Durrani and the petitioner, Asghar Khan, appeared before the bench, whereas Commander Shahbaz represented the Defence Ministry in the case. Habib told the court that the then army chief communicated to him the message of the then president, Ghulam Ishaq, to arrange Rs 350 million, adding that he (Habib) was taken into custody by the Federal Investigation Agency on saying that it was impossible to arrange such a substantial amount.
Habib revealed that he arranged Rs 1.48 billion under duress, and of that, Rs 400 million were distributed among politicians while the rest were received by the agencies for investment. The bank account numbers in which the money was transferred was also provided by Aslam Beg, claimed Habib. He also informed the court that he was forced by Roedad Khan and then attorney general of Pakistan to file a case against Asif Ali Zardari, in 1990.
Tendering an apology before the court, Habib pleaded for mercy, saying he had no other option but to capitulate to the pressure exerted by the former president and army chief. In response to Habib's statement, Durrani tried to convince the bench that ISI had nothing to do with the disbursement of the money to politicians, saying it was his individual act. The chief justice observed that the bench would decide the case after hearing all the parties.

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