All ‘escape routes’ for Haqqani blocked

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The memo commission on Friday did everything possible to block all ‘escape routes’ so far available to Husain Haqqani in the memo scandal by putting him on notice to be available in Pakistan, directing him to submit copies of the bills of his private and official mobile phones and the PIN of his ‘missing’ Blackberry sets, with a warning that otherwise the commission would summon his wife, family members and the foreign secretary, with whom he must have had contact through his Blackberry, in an attempt to trace the his handset’s PIN.
As the commission is nearing the completion of its task with more evidence pouring in against Haqqani during the cross-examination of Ijaz, it seems in no mood to hear more excuses from Haqqani about the missing Blackberry sets, submission of Blackberry PIN, mobile phone bills and his availability before the commission. “We want to get down to the truth but there is no primary evidence coming from your side,” Justice Qazi Faez Isa, the chairman of the commission, told Haqqani’s counsel. The commission directed the former ambassador to the US to either admit or deny the charges as ‘simple denial’ of everything on record against him would no longer work. “He (Haqqani) should take a clear position on the charges leveled by Mansoor Ijaz against him and subsequently inform the commission in writing within the next nine days.
He may either fully or partially agree or deny the evidence, statement and testimony of Mansoor Ijaz,” Justice Isa told Haqqani’s lawyer, Sajid Tanoli who is assisting Zahid Bukhari in the case.
Justice Isa said, “We (commission) are not powerless… If Haqqani says he didn’t remember the PIN, we have got other ways to do it. We will summon his wife and other family members, the foreign affairs secretary to know the PIN of Haqqani’s handset if he did not submit it voluntarily”.
To Haqqani’s lawyer he said, “The commission did not want to trick or trap anybody and is telling you in advance.”
On request of Haqqani’s counsel, the commission decided that the copies of month-specific phone bills to be provided by Haqqani would not be made public due to privacy reasons.
The commission directed the government to give in writing the ownership details of the missing Blackberry sets which were in Haqqani’s use during May 2011 to November 4, 2011 and also provide copies of the bills paid by the government of Pakistan in the US.
It said if the bills were lost, the government must ask the service provider to send a PDF version of the bill directly to the commission.
Haqqani had told the commission during previous hearings that his Blackberry sets were missing since he left London. He also had declined to submit PIN of the sets.
Mustafa Ramday, currently present in London for Ijaz’s cross-examination, informed the commission about two forensic companies – LGC Forensics and Systems Technologies Consultants Limited – for verification and authenticity of the communication data stored in the handset of Ijaz.
The commission secretary, who is already in London, was directed to check with the forensic companies about their expertise on the issue. The commission also directed other counsels to suggest forensic companies to chose one of them for the purpose.
During the cross-examination, Ijaz said he remained in contact with ISI DG Ahmad Shuja Pasha even after October 22 through emails and telephone but his security was the sole subject of the communication.
Asked whether President Asif Ali Zardari had prior knowledge of the US raid in Abbottabad, Ijaz said he would not like to answer the question due to sensitivity of the matter.
He said he had also informed Haqqani through his family phone number about the broader content of the intelligence transcript that he, a day earlier, had submitted before the commission. He also provided a copy of the bill of his private phone number to the commission to support his claim.
Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq and Haqqani’s lawyer Sajid Tanoli continued to object throughout the proceedings over the evidence provided by Ijaz, saying the witness could not exhibit further evidence during the cross-examination.
Ijaz said shortly after Haqqani resigned as ambassador to the US, he was informed by some senior intelligence official, not from Pakistan, that there would be an attempt to delete data from his handset.
To a question, Ijaz said he contacted a US government agency for verification of the integrity of software in his handset but the agency refused to do so under the pressure of the US government.
The commission will meet again on March 15 when Haqqani’s counsel Zahid Bukhari will start cross-examining Ijaz. Justice Isa made it clear to Bukhari’s associate that Bukhari must be present on March 15, adding that no adjournment requests would be entertained.

4 COMMENTS

  1. MEMO COMMISSION is disintegrating but is determined to hammer Haqqani and thinks that Ijaz Mansoor is an angel and his tirades are truthful.
    The Supreme Court should intervene and call it a day and should form another commission to keep these justices going.

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