Delivered cash from ISI to Sharif: Pak banker

Islamabad: A banker at the centre of a scandal over the funnelling of millions of rupees from Pakistan`s ISI to politicians in the 1990s has said that he personally delivered cash to PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif at his home.

Former Mehran Bank chief Yunus Habib did not specify how much he had paid to Sharif, a two-time former premier. Habib further told Geo News channel that Rs 2.5 million was sent to PML-N leader Shahbaz Sharif, currently the Chief Minister of Punjab, through telegraphic transfer on September 27, 1993.

As the Supreme Court resumed hearing a 16-year-old case regarding the funding of politicians by the ISI, Habib told a bench last week that he had arranged Rs 1.48 billion for the military and about Rs 400 million was paid to politicians linked to the army-backed Islami Jamhoori Ittehad to rig the 1990 general election.

The IJI was created with the backing of the security establishment to prevent the Pakistan People`s Party from coming to power. Habib`s allegations have been denied by most of the politicians accused of receiving pay-offs.

Habib said that in order to make up for mistakes he had committed in 1990, he supported the PPP in polls held in 1993 and it came to power that year. The banker, who is ailing and confined to a wheelchair, said he had also used money in 1993 to weaken Nawaz Sharif`s position by pitting Islamic clerics against him.

The banker acknowledged the money that was paid to politicians was "nothing less than a bribe" and that taking or giving bribes was a sin. Habib further said he had arranged funds for the military in 1990 as he was pressurised to get the money "by hook or by crook".

He said it was impossible to arrange such a large sum through legal means and so he had to resort to "manipulation" of bank funds. In earlier remarks in the apex court, Habib said he was pressurised by then army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg and late President Ghulam Ishaq Khan to provide the funds.