Memo row: Asma Jahangir quits as Haqqani`s lawyer

Last Updated: Sunday, January 1, 2012 - 21:21

Islamabad: Leading Pakistani lawyer Asma Jahangir on Sunday quit as counsel for former envoy to the US, Husain Haqqani, in legal proceedings related to the memo scandal, saying she had "no confidence" in the commission
formed by the Supreme Court to probe the matter.

Jahangir, one of Pakistan`s leading rights activist, said
she had asked Haqqani to engage another lawyer to represent
him in the apex court and the court-appointed commission that
has been asked to conduct an inquiry into the alleged memo
that sought US help to prevent a feared military coup in
Pakistan in May.

A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief
Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry last week formed a commission
comprising the Chief Justices of the High Courts of Islamabad,
Balochistan and Sindh to conduct a probe into the memo issue
in four weeks.

Jahangir alleged the judges of the Supreme Court were
acting "under the influence of the (security) establishment".

She said: "And if nine judges of the Supreme Court can be
(under their influence), then I am sorry to say I cannot have
any expectations from High Court judges, who are under (the
apex court judges)."

"Should we close our eyes? Should we allow ourselves to
be fooled?... I have told my client he can appear before the
commission if he wants to, and he will go. I have no
confidence at all (in the commission)," Jahangir told Dawn
News channel.

"This is the court`s order and we have to follow it but I
told (Haqqani) to engage some other lawyer," she said.

Jahangir further said that Haqqani feared the powerful
spy agencies might force him into giving a statement.

This fear was the reason behind his stay at the Prime
Minister`s House, she said.

The Supreme Court`s decision on several petitions seeking
a probe into the Memogate scandal was a "victory" for the
security establishment, she said.

The law is being used to transform the country into a
"security state", she contended.

Haqqani was forced to resign after Pakistani-American
businessman Mansoor Ijaz made public the alleged memo in
November.

The Supreme Court`s decision to form the commission came
as a blow to the beleaguered Pakistan People’s Party-led
government, which had challenged the court’s jurisdiction to
hear the petitions seeking a probe into the scandal.

The government had contended that the probe into the memo
should be left to the Parliamentary Committee on National
Security.

However, the chiefs of the army and the ISI spy agency
had urged the court to order an independent inquiry, saying
the memo had affected national security.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, January 1, 2012 - 21:05

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