`Haqqani cannot return to Pak as he faces threats to his life`

Haqqani`s lawyer Asma Jahangir informed a nine-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry about the threats to the former envoy`s life.

Islamabad: Pakistan`s former envoy to the US, Husain Haqqani, cannot return to the country to appear in the Supreme Court as he faces threats to his life, his lawyer said Monday.

Haqqani`s lawyer Asma Jahangir informed a nine-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry about the threats to the former envoy`s life.

The bench was hearing a case related to an alleged memo that purportedly sought US help to stave off a feared military coup after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

The Chief Justice said the apex court had already made it clear that Haqqani would have to return to participate in the hearing.

He referred to orders issued in the past by the court.

The bench said a meeting had been held in the Interior Ministry on January 26 to discuss the provision of security to Haqqani.

Jahangir said she had no information regarding the meeting in the Interior Ministry.

She said she would be traveling to Geneva for a private visit and sought an adjournment of the case.

The bench then put off the case till February 12.

The case against Haqqani relates to the memo allegedly sent by the former envoy to former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen seeking US intervention to avert a possible overthrow of the government in the aftermath of the American raid that killed bin Laden.

A judicial commission set up by the apex court concluded last year that Haqqani was responsible for the mysterious memo, which was made public by controversial Pakistani- American businessman Mansoor Ijaz.

Haqqani has not responded to several notices to appear in court, saying his life would be in danger if he returned to Pakistan.

The apex court wants Haqqani to come to Pakistan to record a judicial statement. The former envoy has been living in the US since last year. In a letter sent to the Interior Secretary, Haqqani expressed lack of confidence in Pakistan`s security apparatus and refused to appear in the Supreme Court due to threats from jihadi groups and "elements within the state apparatus" that back terrorists.

"I will not and cannot trust my personal safety in the hands of state machinery that routinely fails to protect Pakistani citizens," Haqqani was quoted as saying in the letter by Dawn newspaper.

He asked the Interior Secretary to inform the apex court about his concerns regarding threats to his life "from several sources including various jihadi groups whom I have criticised and opposed publicly and elements within the state apparatus that have supported and protected these terrorist elements over the years".

Haqqani sent his letter to the Interior Secretary via the Pakistani Embassy in Washington in response to another letter that had promised him adequate security on the directives of the apex court.

He mentioned the assassinations of Awami National Party leader Bashir Bilour and former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer as the reason for his distrust in Pakistan?s security agencies.

"The recent assassination of ANP leader and Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa senior minister Bashir Bilour has exposed the hollowness of state-organised security arrangements, especially for those who do not conform to the narrowly construed ideology of extremists and their mentors within the country’s establishment," he wrote.

Haqqani said he does "not have faith in any security organisation in Pakistan" and "one-sided findings" of the judicial commission that probed the Memogate affair had "prejudiced my rights and security beyond repair".

He said that even though he had not been charged or tried, "a general impression has been created that I have been found guilty of some crime, making me a very likely target of hyper-nationalist vigilantes of which many are currently active all over Pakistan including within the security services".