SC gives govt 30 days to produce Hussain Haqqani in court

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  • CJP says considering banning on-air discussions over Memogate scandal
  • FIA DG says arrest warrants will be sent to former ambassador’s residence in Karachi, Washington

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday directed the government to bring back former envoy to US Hussain Haqqani to Pakistan to face the Memogate case.

The Memogate scandal transpired back in 2011 when Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz revealed that he had received an ‘anti-army’ memo from then-Pakistan envoy in Washington DC, Hussain Haqqani, on Asif Ali Zardari’s request for US Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Mike Mullen.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court (SC), headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, resumed hearing of the Memogate case in Islamabad.

The federal secretaries of interior and foreign affairs appeared before the court in the case.

While hearing the case, Justice Nisar remarked they would not tolerate further delay in Haqqani’s return. He said no positive development has taken place regarding Haqqani’s return.

To this, the interior secretary told the court that documents from the United States had arrived a day earlier, while the additional attorney general requested the court to grant a chance on the case.

Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Bashir Ahmed Memon, who also appeared in the court hearing, said that the judicial magistrate had handed the FIA the arrest warrants that were issued by the court earlier. He also assured the court that the warrants will be sent to Haqqani’s residence in Karachi and Washington.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar warned that the court will not accept any excuse after the deadline has passed. The FIA director general told the CJP that the FIA had to follow a procedure in order to issue red warrants.

“I will personally go to the United States for the case,” assured the FIA DG.

Moreover, the chief justice observed, media should not entertain any commentary on the Memogate scandal as it is a sub judice case.

He remarked that discussions regarding the scandal on television channels alleged that the courts intended to open old wounds by conducting hearings on the Memogate scandal. But actually, the courts are only following the law, the chief justice added.

The chief justice remarked he was reckoning on banning on-air discussions over the Memogate scandal and summon all those in the court who want to give statements regarding the case.

During the last hearing on Tuesday, Justice Nisar summoned the foreign and interior secretaries to appear in court and explain why the government had not yet brought the former envoy to the US to Pakistan.

The CJP had stated that the matter is now about the court and country’s honour as “a person clearly hoodwinked everybody by running away after giving a statement”.

The CJP had then summoned Additional Attorney General (AAG) Rana Waqar to inquire about the government’s plan of arresting and bringing Haqqani back from the US. The AAG had also submitted an FIR against Haqqani over the misappropriation of funds at the embassy during his tenure.

Chief Justice Nisar had expressed the court’s dissatisfaction with the progress in the case in all these years and termed it “mere eyewash”.

In a statement reported on Feb 5, Haqqani had remarked that none of the four chief justice’s after Iftikhar Chaudhry had thought much of the case, adding that it didn’t make sense to him why a three-member bench is taking up the case when a nine-member bench had heard the case six years ago.

“It has been six years since I submitted a review petition to correct legal mistakes in the case. Will the court hear this case too?” he sarcastically asked.

Furthermore, in a reference to Justice Nisar, Haqqani was loud and clear about his intentions to come to Pakistan, saying that he will not come to Pakistan on “Baba Rehamtay’s” orders, as his orders are limited within Pakistan.

Responding to reports of the arrest warrants issued for him on February 15, Haqqani had tweeted that it was “sad that highest court of Pakistan persists with such antics for local TV news coverage. Such political ‘warrants’ have not been honoured abroad in the past, won’t work now”.

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