Talking to reporters in Lahore, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira unveiled the government’s plan to complete the investigation against beneficiaries of the ISI largesse including the Sharifs, in the “shortest possible time”. If the charge of accepting money is established, the PPP would have a convenient election issue to hammer at the hustings to compensate for the dismal performance during the past four years of its rule. It would also seek their disqualification.
“Although there has been no deadline set by the Supreme Court, the government will try to complete the investigation in the shortest possible time, possibly before the interim set-up is in place,” Kaira said.
The tenure of the PPP-led government is to end on March 18.
A senior Federal Investigation Agency official was quoted by Dawn as saying that if the government constituted separate teams for different stations like Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi, it would be able to complete the investigation in two months against those politicians who received money in 1990 to stop Benazir Bhutto-led PPP from coming to power.
According to Gen. (retd) Asad Durrani’s affidavit, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was given Rs3.5 million, Mir Afzal Khan Rs10 million, Lt-Gen. Rafaqat Rs5.6 million for distribution among journalists, Abida Hussain Rs1 million, Jamaat-e-Islami Rs5 million, Altaf Hussain Qureshi Rs500,000, Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi Rs5 million, Jam Sadiq Rs5 million, Junejo Rs250,000, Pir Pagara Rs2 million, Maulana Salahuddin Rs300,000, Humayun Marri (Nawab Bugti’s son-in-law) Rs1.5 million, Jam Yousuf Rs750,000, Bizenjo Rs500,000, Malik Meraj Khalid Rs500,000, Mustafa Khar Rs2 million and Sarwar Cheema Rs500,000.
“Let me tell you, once the investigation begins, the PML-N will try to give it a political colour, but the PPP does not believe in victimisation. And above all, the apex court will monitor the process,” the minister said.
He also ruled out any talks with the PML-N over the probe insisting that it would be transparent and there will be no ‘deal’ with the PML-N over this matter,
Kaira played down court’s observation that the office of the president must remain above partisan politics. “President Zardari is part of parliament and cannot be expected not to engage in politics,” he said.
The minister, however, conceded that the president must conduct himself impartially.
He said former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan had stolen the people’s mandate by becoming a party. “Zardari, as President, has favoured no particular party,” he contended.
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