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Memo: Ijaz fails to appear before Pak commission

Last Updated: Thursday, February 9, 2012 - 15:25

Islamabad: American businessman Mansoor Ijaz
on Thursday failed to avail a final opportunity to depose before a
Pakistani judicial commission investigating the memo scandal,
with his lawyer saying that he was prepared to record his
statement at the Pakistani mission in London.

The Supreme Court-appointed commission observed that Ijaz
had made a U-turn on the issue of coming to Pakistan to depose
despite all sorts of assurances given by the government about
his security.

During a hearing last month, the commission had given Ijaz
a final opportunity to depose before it today about the
mysterious memo that had sought US help to stave off a feared
military coup in Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden
in May last year.

The three-judge commission issued the direction after Ijaz
failed to appear before the panel on two occasions.
In messages sent through this lawyer Akram Sheikh, Ijaz
had cited security concerns as his reason for not coming to

During today`s hearing, Sheikh told the panel that Ijaz
does not want to come to Pakistan but is ready to provide
evidence about the memo and record his statement outside the

After consulting Ijaz during a recess in the hearing,
Sheikh informed the commission that Ijaz was prepared to
record his statement at the Pakistan High Commission in

Sheikh further contended that the commission does not have
the right to summon Ijaz, who is a US national and had
voluntarily offered to appear before the panel.

Sheikh contended that Pakistani laws would be applicable
to Ijaz once he arrived in the country, and that a
parliamentary commission which is also investigating the memo
scandal could ask for him to be held.

The commission observed that Ijaz had not come to Pakistan
despite all sorts of assurances given to him by the

The panel further observed there was no guarantee that he
would record his statement abroad.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik appeared before the
commission last month and assured it that Ijaz would be
provided complete security.

However, Ijaz has claimed that he has "no confidence" in

The Supreme Court recently gave the commission two more
months to finalise its report on the memo scandal, which had
triggered a tense standoff between the civilian government and
the military.

Pakistan`s former envoy to the US, Husain Haqqani, was
forced to resign after Ijaz made public the alleged memo last

Ijaz claimed he had drafted and delivered the memo to the
US military on Haqqani`s instructions, a charge denied by the


First Published: Thursday, February 9, 2012 - 15:25
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