Memo body considers going abroad to record Ijaz’s statement


Continuing with his attempts to dissuade the judicial commission probing the memogate controversy from recording the statement of Mansoor Ijaz, the central character in the memo case, former ambassador Husain Haqqani’s counsel Zahid Bukhari on Thursday painted the worst possible scenario for the consideration of the commission’s members before they decided whether to go abroad to record Ijaz’s testimony, saying many of the spy agencies of the world were against the country and its judiciary and the commission was taking it lightly.
Arguing that as the American national had failed to appear before the enquiry tribunal in Pakistan despite repeated assurances of his security, Bukhari requested the commission to ‘bury’ the matter and not even think of visiting London or anywhere else to record Ijaz’s statement as the security of the chief justices and lawyers concerned would be a big issue. “The move under consideration would neither be in the interest of the nation nor in the interest of the judiciary. It would neither be legal nor is it necessary,” he added. Bukhari also questioned whether local laws would allow the commission to record Ijaz’s statement in London, adding that it would be an insult to the whole nation. “Just imagine if the commission decides to visit London and he does not turn up there,” said Bukhari. Commission Chairman Justice Qazi Faez Isa replied: “The commission has been put in a difficult position… all eyes are on the commission and if we don’t conclude the probe, it will also be an insult to the nation.”
Bukhari stated that the world would laugh when the three chief justices of Pakistan would land at the London airport. He said further that the commission had allayed Ijaz’s fears during the previous hearing and also added that Akram Shaikh – Ijaz’s counsel – had not requested the commission to go abroad to collect evidence. Bukhari also told the commission that the missing Blackberry smartphones of Haqqani could not be recovered. He also declined to waive Haqqani’s privacy rights with Research In Motion (RIM) Limited, the Canada-based manufacturer of BlackBerry phones, until Ijaz came forward with his allegations.
The attorney general also said the commission might go the UK or Switzerland but Ijaz might not turn up there. “The possibility cannot be ruled out, he may be absent,” he said. He said further that Mansoor’s counsel has not given any assurance to the commission that he would certainly appear before the commission abroad. However, Justice Isa replied: “Then you can initiate a defamation case against Mansoor Ijaz.” He also objected to the conduct of the US national but repeatedly said that the commission had to comply with the order of the apex court, which also empowered it to go abroad to collect evidence if it had to. However, the attorney general said the move could be humiliating at this time, as Ijaz had failed to come to Pakistan. Earlier, Ijaz’s counsel told the commission that his client had agreed to visit Pakistan’s High Commission in London to depose before the commission.
He read out a message from Ijaz, which he received during the break, stating: “I will appear in London. I will depose. I am waiting to depose.”
Justice Isa said the venue of Pakistan’s High Commission in London was fine, and when Bukhari questioned how the commission could operate in London, Justice Isa replied: “Pakistan’s High Commission in London is a sovereign premises.”
Shaikh argued that the commission should go abroad to record Ijaz’s statement, which he said was within the commission’s jurisdiction. However, despite repeated queries, Shaikh did not give any assurance to the commission that his client would be available to the commission abroad.
Sheikh said further that in so many cases a commission constituted another commission to probe into some particular matter and added that a commission could delegate its powers to another commission. He cited an example that an accountability court in Lahore in 1997 constituted a commission to verify documents in the Swiss courts. All the other petitioners, except Barrister Zafrullah Khan, supported Shaikh’s point of view.
At one time, the commission chairman admonished the deputy attorney general (DAG) and the officials of the Foreign Office for not complying with the orders of the Supreme Court and the commission, and added that the foreign secretary kept sitting on a letter written by the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad but the secretary, who was summoned on short notice, cleared his position that he received the letter from the commission on January 30 and forwarded it to the attorney general on January 31.
The DAG told the commission that US Admiral Mike Mullen did not intend to appear before the commission. The AG and Shaikh exchanged harsh words as the former labelled the latter “the alleged counsel of a so-called witness”.
The commission is set to meet again today and decide whether to go abroad.


  1. It will be extremely in advisable for three sitting Chief Justices to follow an extremely unreliable person to the extent of going from one country to another. It seems some kind of a vendetta is going on between Judiciary & PPP.

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