Pak Army cannot hold trial of ex-ISI, army chief in 1990 poll rigging case

Islamabad, Nov. 12 (ANI): The Pakistan Army's legal branch, in its preliminary report presented to Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, has said it finds hardly any scope for the military to try former Army Chief Gen (retd) Aslam Beg and ISI's former director general Lt-Gen (retired) Asad Durrani, under the Army Act.

According to sources, after top-level civil-military discussions over the possibilities of initiating criminal proceedings against Beg and Durrani, the GHQ has started studying the legal aspects of the Army Act to conclude if the two would be tried by the military or civilian government, reports The News.

The Supreme Court had recently ruled that the 1990 election was rigged and that a political cell maintained by the then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan supported the formation of the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) to stop a victory of Benazir Bhutto's PPP.

The ruling said Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Beg and Durrani violated the Constitution, and ordered the government to take legal action against them.

The government has not yet formally referred the case to the army, whose legal branch is presently studying the relevance of the Army Act. It is said that the civilian government might find much in the prevailing statutes to deal with these cases without referring it to the army.

According to the military source, Section 31 of the Army Act pertains to mutiny and insubordination, which has no relevance to the case of Beg and Durrani, who had retired almost two decades back and had neither deserted nor were fraudulently enrolled in the army.

The Section 40 pertains to the fraudulent offence in respect of property including dishonest misappropriation or theft or criminal breach in relation to any government property; dishonest receipt or retention of stolen property; or have caused wrongful gain or wrongful loss to any person.

In the case of Beg and Durrani, it is said that the two followed unlawful orders of the then president and for the same reason have been condemned but the whole episode does not involve public money or loss of public property.

Owing to these facts, the military sources argue that the preliminary report of the JAG branch did not see any scope for the application of the Army Act in this case. (ANI)