The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday decided to not close the Asghar Khan case and sought reply from the defence secretary. During the hearing, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said if Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has no authority, then the case can be given to other departments. The court also appointed Salman Akram Raja for judicial assistance in the case. The chief justice questioned how the court could just dismiss its decision. “We will get further investigation done,” he asserted. “How can this case proceed?” he asked. “A verdict has already been announced, but look what’s happening now, when it is time for implementation.” Justice Nisar recalled that it had been suggested “that some individuals should be separated from the case”. “That should not happen,” Raja said. “A man has said ‘I have distributed the money’,” he pointed out. “We will not let Asghar Khan’s efforts go to waste,” the chief justice asserted. “The Asghar Khan family was not taken into confidence over the suggestion that the case be closed. If the FIA lacked the authority, it could have gotten the investigation done by another institution,” the chief justice added. “When the verdict was announced, I met then-chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry,” the top judge recounted. “I said to Chaudhry that he had announced such a massive verdict that if the court now does nothing more, even that was enough.” “The Asghar Khan and Asia Bibi case verdicts are historical,” Raja commented. “A military court is trying the army officers who were involved. There is a separate trial against civilians,” the chief justice said. “The cabinet had said that a military court would try them (army officers). How can we reach a final conclusion after separate investigations?” he wondered. “We don’t know what action the military has taken so far, why not summon a report from them too?” he suggested. “Don’t get the impression that the military is beyond the jurisdiction of this court,” the chief justice said. “As the chief justice, I would like to tell them that all this is within our jurisdiction.” “Why don’t we summon the defence secretary?” he suggested. The court decided that it was not satisfied with the conclusions reached by the FIA and asked the agency to submit a response to Khan’s family’s joint reply. The SC also ordered that a notice be sent to the defence secretary and asked him to apprise the court on which army officers’ cases were sent to military courts and what progress had been made in the investigation. The court ordered the reply to be submitted in a week and adjourned the case until Jan 25. Published in Daily Times, January 12th 2019.