PCNS discusses security threats to Ijaz


The Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) discussed on Tuesday reported security threats to Mansoor Ijaz, the main character in the memo case, and decided to defer the matter, directing the attorney general to appear before the committee on Thursday and brief it on security arrangements for the Pakistani-American businessman.
The committee had sent a notice to Ijaz to appear before it on Thursday to record his statement and provide evidence to substantiate his claims in the memo case, but he refused to visit Pakistan because of ‘security threats’.
Briefing reporters on the proceedings of the committee, its chairman Senator Raza Rabbani said Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General (DG) Lt General Ahmad Shuja Pasha and former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani had submitted their respective statements to the committee but no verbal or written response had been received from Ijaz. A source told Pakistan Today that the statements of Lt Gen Pasha and Haqqani had been submitted to Rabbani and not to the secretary of the committee, Iftikharullah Babar. “Pasha and Haqqani repeated their statements which they had already submitted before the memo commission. No new information has been shared,” the source said.
The source said further that the committee also discussed how to deal with the issue of threats to the life and evidence of Mansoor Ijaz, and it was decided that the committee would first see the security plan chalked out by the government for Ijaz and then it would decide how to proceed. Rabbani told reporters that the attorney general had to appear in front of the committee on Tuesday and present records of communications between the government of Pakistan and Research In Motion (RIM) Ltd, the Canada-based manufacturer of BlackBerry smartphones, for provision of communication data between Haqqani and Ijaz. “The attorney general called me and informed that he was busy with the memo commission. He also told me that he would provide the record this evening,” said Rabbani. He added that he had no formal information either from Ijaz or from his counsel, but keeping in view the media reports in which Ijaz had expressed concerns about his security, the committee decided to find out the details of the security provision to the US national. “We will have a detailed briefing about security arrangements for Ijaz. Only after that will we take any decision on future strategy about him,” he added. Asked whether the committee would take any measures against Ijaz, who had refused to appear, Rabbani said the committee would consider taking formal action only if he failed to appear. Asked to comment on media criticism regarding the jurisdiction of the committee as parliament had not referred the memo probe to it, and it was the decision of the prime minister, Rabbani said he had not heard media critique against the committee. However, he added that the committee members were of the view that the PCNS had jurisdiction to take up the memo case. When asked whether the committee discussed Ijaz’s point of view on the committee notice, Rabbani said the committee was holding its proceedings as a quasi-judicial forum and it did not go into the details of what was happening outside the committee. Asked why the committee did not seek a response from Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in the memo case, Rabbani said it was the prerogative of the committee to issue initial notices and all necessary respondents were asked to file replies.
When asked whether President Asif Ali Zardari had summoned him and asked him to support Haqqani in the memo case, Rabbani replied: “No such discussion took place with the president regarding the memo case or about Husain Haqqani.”.