The Pakistan Muslim League-N opened a Pandora’s box on Saturday by alleging that the 1993 elections were manipulated and that the establishment had spent Rs250 million to dislodge the party’s government.
The allegation came one day after the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Asghar Khan case regarding distribution of money by the ISI among politicians in order to defeat the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in the 1990 elections.
Denying that PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif had received Rs3.5 million from the establishment before the 1990 elections, the party called for the formation of a “truth and reconciliation commission” to probe all the past “politically-motivated cases” and to bring the looted money back to the national exchequer.
“An investigation should be carried out into an expenditure of Rs110 million by the PPP to dismantle the Nawaz Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League’s government in the then North West Frontier Province and distribution of millions of rupees among religious parties to divide the party’s vote-bank in the 1993 general elections,” said PML-N’s information secretary Mushahidullah Khan.
Talking to Dawn, Mr Khan alleged that the PPP, in connivance with the establishment, had spent Rs250 million to make its long march against the Nawaz Sharif government a success. He asked the PPP leadership to immediately deposit Rs250 million in the exchequer.
Commenting on the SC’s decision, he said the court had held ex-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan responsible for the whole episode and everyone knew that he had acquired the office of president after a deal between former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and the military establishment. In fact, he claimed, it was the PML which forced him to quit office in 1993.
In an apparent reaction to the press conference held by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Friday, the PML-N leader said Younas Habib, the man who had confessed before the apex court to having distributed the money among politicians in 1990, had also alleged that Asif Ali Zardari and Benazir Bhutto had received Rs50 million from him.
“(Prime Minister) Raja Pervez Ashraf should first present himself for accountability by telling the nation about the amount he had received as commission in the rental power scam,” the PML-N leader said, adding that Mr Ashraf had managed to become prime minister after an assurance that he would defend the alleged corruption of President Zardari.
Mr Khan further said the PPP leadership should also account for Rs4 billion it had distributed among party loyalists as loan, alleging that later all these loans were written off. He said these allegations were also based on the “confessional” statement of Younas Habib, who had been a “companion in jail of Mr Zardari”.
The PML-N leader said his party wanted formation of a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate all allegations so that the nation got back all its looted money.
Nabeel Anwar Dhakku adds from Chakwal: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif declared on Saturday that his party respected the Supreme Court’s verdict, but said President Zardari should also be taken to task for a similar crime.
Talking to reporters after attending a ceremony at the Cadet College in Kallar Kahar, he said: “If there is evidence against us about misusing public money, then it should be presented.”
He said Mr Zardari had taken Rs500 million from the Intelligence Bureau to topple the PML-N government, led by Nawaz Sharif, in 1993. “We do not fear the court’s verdict as the nation knows very well who the real culprit is.”