Islamabad: Mansoor Ijaz, one of the key figures in the memo scandal, has lived up to his track record of shifting goal posts whenever things get sticky, said a daily after the Pakistani-American businessman refused to come to Pakistan.
Ijaz said he won`t come to Pakistan just a day before he was supposed to appear before the judicial commission investigating the matter.
Ijaz claimed to have last year delivered a secret memo to then US chief of staff Gen. Mike Mullen at the behest of then envoy to the US Husain Haqqani and the Pakistani government. The memo said President Asif Ali Zardari feared a military coup after Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed May 2 last year at his hideout in Abbottabad near Islamabad.
An editorial in the Daily Times Wednesday said that the reasons for his refusal are that he fears for his safety and life.
The businessman`s counsel told the judicial panel Mansoor Ijaz wants the commission to travel to London or Zurich and record his statement there.
"...security under the law for any citizen or visitor is the responsibility of the interior ministry, which not only appointed a senior officer to take charge of Ijaz`s security in Pakistan, the authorities went so far as to announce that an army officer had been attached to help with the security duties of Ijaz.
"This too proved insufficient for `viceroy` Ijaz. The authorities` bending over backwards to accommodate Mansoor Ijaz`s concerns has only yielded the damp squib at the end of the day of a cop-out by monsieur," the newspaper said.
The editorial went on to say that this "no-show has eroded whatever was left of Mansoor Ijaz`s credibility".
"The only surprise in this for knowledgeable observers is the amount of time and space devoted to this `drama queen` at the expense (almost) of destabilising the government and arguably democracy per se."
The editorial had a piece of advice for the judicial panel: "The sensible jurisprudence would appear to be to drop the whole thing and leave it in the lap of the parliamentary committee (where, arguably, it always belonged, the penchant of the Supreme Court to take up any and all matters irrespective of potential embarrassment notwithstanding)".