Kayani presses for Memogate probe

Kayani has made a fresh request to the Supreme Court to probe the Memogate scandal, in a sign that the military and the civilian government are at loggerhead on the issue.

Last Updated: Dec 22, 2011, 12:39 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq
Parvez Kayani has made a fresh request to the Supreme Court to
probe the Memogate scandal, in a sign that the military and
the civilian government are at loggerhead on the issue.

Kayani conveyed his stand in a rejoinder submitted to the
Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The powerful army chief said the memo made public by
Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz is a "reality" and
it should be thoroughly investigated as it had a bearing on
national security and sovereignty.

Kayani`s rejoinder said the Inter-Services Intelligence
agency chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha had briefed him about
the memo on October 24 after gathering evidence and
information from Ijaz.

The General said all his earlier statements were based on
facts and he had kept nothing hidden from the court.

The army and ISI chiefs have asked the apex court to
conduct an investigation into the alleged memo that had sought
US help to stave off a feared coup in Pakistan after the
killing of Osama bin Laden in May.

The government has challenged the court`s jurisdiction to
hear several petitions seeking a probe, saying a parliamentary
panel was already conducting an investigation.

A meeting between Kayani and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani on December 16 had triggered speculation that the
military and the government may have resolved their
differences on the handling of the probe into the scandal.

Kayani`s rejoinder, which came ahead of the apex court
hearing on the issue today, made it clear that the differences
persisted.

Kayani filed the rejoinder in response to a directive
from the court, which had sought responses to replies filed by
the government, Ijaz and Husain Haqqani, Pakistan`s former
envoy to the US.

Haqqani was forced to resign after Ijaz alleged he was
behind the memo.

PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, who is one of the petitioners
seeking a probe into the scandal, said in his rejoinder that
an inquiry was necessary as no one had denied the existence of
the memo.

"It is a matter of public interest and the people of
Pakistan should know who did what and why?" his reply stated.

The Memogate scandal has rocked Pakistan`s political and
diplomatic circles and triggered speculation about the future
of President Asif Ali Zardari and the weak government led by
his Pakistan People`s Party.

Opposition parties have stepped up their calls for the
government to resign and hold early elections.

PTI