Rasheed Hasan Khan
After remaining in a limbo for twelve years the Mehrangate Scandal has been resurrected. After an initial hearing, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has scheduled the next hearing for 8 March 2012 when the main witness, Gen. Asad Durrani (ex-D.G. ISI, who submitted an affidavit regarding Mehrangate before the Supreme Court) will be in Pakistan and present to give evidence. The Mehrangate Scandal is a sordid story of the shenanigans of the ISI in the 1990 National Elections. It is alleged that Gen. Aslam Beg, under instruction from the then President of Pakistan, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, instructed the then Director General ISI, Gen. Hamid Gul, to influence the national elections in favour of the forces acceptable to the powers that be. To this end, Gen. Hamid Gul cobbled together an electoral alliance – the IJI (Islami Jamhoori Ittehad), bringing together the religious parties and political parties to the right of the political spectrum. To boost their spiritual motivation, a scheme to add material incentive was also put into practice. For this purpose, the Mehran Bank and its Chief Executive Mr. Yunus Habib was used as a conduit. Hence the name — Mehrangate. It is alleged that in this unconstitutional and illegal gambit, Rs. 140 million were deposited in Mehran Bank and eventually Rs.60 –70 million or so were disbursed to various political parties and individuals, the whereabouts of the remainder are a holy mystery beyond the knowledge of the common tax payer and citizen. Out of the money stolen from the commercial banks and thus the ordinary Pakistani, Jamaat e Islami was paid Rs.50 m and Nawaz Sharif was paid Rs.35 m. Farooq Leghari, Jam Sadiq, Abida Hussain,Ch. Shujaat and many many more, were also the worthy recipients of the ISI largesse. As a foot note, the IJI and its panel managed to win the 1990 National Elections, thanks to the moral and material support of the invisible government in Pakistan.
A few years later, Retd. Air Marshal Asghar Khan wrote a letter to the then Chief Justice of Pakistan, Sajjad Ali Shah, detailing the antics of the secret agencies as briefly mentioned above. The letter was converted to a legal petition by the Honorable Chief Justice. Understandably though, very soon, the petition was put in the Deep Freezer and the Judiciary conveniently forgot its existence for twelve long years. Now that the petition pertaining to the Scandalous goings on of the Mehrangate Scandal, has been resurrected, let us hope that the nascent independent Judiciary of Pakistan fulfills the expectations of the 180 million people of Pakistan to bring to Justice those who have considered themselves to be above the law for more than six decades. During this period, various ruling oligarchies used all illegal and unconstitutional measures to oppress and exploit the people, depriving them of their fundamental human rights and reducing politics and political processes to a mockery. While the people of Pakistan were reduced to misery and penury and their freedom was bartered in exchange for Imperialist support, the ruling classes amassed fortunes overseas and established a pattern of corrupt and oppressive dynastic rule.
The time has come to take stock of our tragic history and to make a determined effort to rectify the errors of omission and commission that are necessary if the purpose for the creation of Pakistan is to be realized. The time has come when we clear the public mind of the fog that surrounds the dismal dynamics of our political history. The success and failure of political struggles of the masses of Pakistan, the breakup of Pakistan, the endemic plague of assassinations and many other facets of our political history can only be correctly understood if the” unknown and unseen” factor in the equation is recognized and taken into consideration. There is a Chinese saying—the beginning of wisdom is learning to call a thing by its right name. Let us pray we have perspicacity and the courage to call the biggest source of disruption and disaster in our National life by its right name and fight to eliminate its noxious influence from our lives.