Islamabad: The `memogate` scandal that alleged the Pakistani army was planning a coup in the country has had an unlikely fall guy: ISI chief, Lt Gen Shuja Pasha.
Taken to court on charges of canvassing with Arab countries to seek their consent for a military coup in Pakistan, Pasha`s office on Wednesday denied the allegation. The petition, filed by Communist Party of Pakistan chairman Jameel Ahmed, sought Pasha`s removal as director general ISI, claiming he had lost the right to remain in service after his involvement in `memogate`.
"It is clarified that director general, ISI, did not meet any Arab leader between May 1 and 9 as alleged. His other visits to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and UAE only, prior to or after this period, were part of routine intelligence sharing activity, during which he interacted with his counterparts only," the statement said.
Jameel`s petition was based on a report in a UK daily, The Independent, on December 13, that quoted Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, the whistleblower behind the memo, as having said, "Their (US intelligence ) information was that Pasha had travelled to Arab countries to talk about what the necessary line of action would be in the event they had to remove Zardari from power... "
Inter Services Public Relations said the story was published without verification and denied its content. It added that a legal notice was being served to the paper.
But, significantly, rhetorical statements against Gen Pasha have increased in recent days. Asma Jahangir, counsel for Haqqani, said Pasha "should have resigned immediately" after the May 2 raid in Abbottabad in which Osama bin Laden was killed.