Memo panel official off to UK for Ijaz testimony

Magistrate Raja Jawad Abbas will check arrangements made at Pak High Commission in London for recording Mansoor Ijaz`s testimony.

Updated: Feb 19, 2012, 14:15 PM IST

Islamabad: Ahead of Mansoor Ijaz`s February 22 testimony over the memo issue, a key official of a Pakistani judicial panel probing the scandal has left for London to supervise arrangements for the controversial Pakistani-American businessman to depose via a video link.

Magistrate Raja Jawad Abbas, the secretary of the Supreme Court-appointed commission, will check arrangements made at the Pakistan High Commission in London for recording Ijaz`s testimony through a video link on February 22, Geo News channel quoted its sources as saying.

Abbas will also collect evidence regarding the memo, including data from electronic devices like BlackBerry phones, from Ijaz, the report said.

The judicial commission had on February 10 ordered that Ijaz`s testimony should be recorded via video-conferencing in London after he failed to appear before it on three occasions. It decided that Ijaz could depose via a video link from the Pakistani mission in London.

Ijaz, the star witness in the scandal, triggered a major crisis in political and diplomatic circles last year when he made public a mysterious memo that had sought US help to stave off a feared coup in Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Pakistan`s former envoy to the US, Husain Haqqani, was forced to resign after Ijaz claimed he drafted and delivered the memo to the US military on Haqqani`s instructions.

The government has denied Ijaz`s allegations.

The memo scandal led to a tense standoff between the civilian government and the powerful military but the issue now appears to have run out of steam, mainly because of Ijaz`s refusal to come to Pakistan to testify and his failure to provide conclusive proof that Pakistani officials were involved in drafting the document.