Durrani admits to doling out money to politicians

Islamabad: Former ISI chief Asad Durrani today admitted in Supreme Court that he had distributed millions of rupees among Pakistani politicians in 1990 on the instructions of then army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg and late President Ghulam Ishaq Khan.

Durrani`s testimony confirmed banker Yunus Habib`s contention in the apex court that about Rs 400 million was distributed among politicians linked to the army-backed Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) to influence the outcome of 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.

During his appearance before a three-judge bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, Durrani admitted the operation was mounted on the instructions of army chief Beg and late President Khan.

Durrrani said after he got an order from the army chief, he had put several army officers on the duty to complete the task of distributing the funds.

Durrani, who headed the ISI during 1990-92, said Beg had told him that the business community in Karachi had put together the funds to be handed over to politicians. The funds were provided from an "election cell" in the presidency, he said.

The former ISI chief said the spy agency did not have a political cell though some persons did political work. After hearing Durrani`s testimony, the bench directed him to submit a detailed statement and also sought the government`s views regarding the ISI`s "political cell".

In his testimony in the court on Thursday, banker Yunus Habib had said he had arranged Rs 1.48 billion on the directions of army chief Beg and late President Khan.