Pak govt trying to prevent my testimony: Ijaz

Ijaz threatened to make public what he claimed was evidence of Malik`s involvement in alleged "corrupt practices".

Islamabad/Washington: Controversial
Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz on Saturday accused the
Pakistan government of trying to prevent him from testifying
in Islamabad next week and alleged that Interior Minister
Rehman Malik has launched a smear campaign against him.

Ijaz threatened to make public what he claimed was
evidence of Malik`s involvement in alleged "corrupt
practices". He accused the Pakistan`s Interior Minister of
indulging in "character assassination".

Ijaz, the central character in the memogate scandal the
has sparked a political crisis in Pakistan, claimed in a
statement that Malik and the government of President Asif Ali
Zardari were behind a "massive cover-up" to prevent him from
testifying next week before a Supreme Court-appointed judicial
commission investigation the memo scandal.

He contended that Malik had asked Pakistan`s
Parliamentary Committee on National Security to "rubber-stamp
his demand" for putting him on the Exit Control List.

Ijaz further accused Malik of playing "devious and
underhanded tricks" to prevent his appearance before the

"This development comes just as I am finalising my travel
arrangements to come to Pakistan," Ijaz said in a press
statement. Ijaz failed to make a scheduled appearance before
the commission on Monday. The panel then summoned him to
appear before it on January 24.

Ijaz, who was issued a visa by the Pakistani mission
in London on Thursday, declined to say when he would travel to
Islamabad to testify before the panel.

Ijaz claimed he possessed "sufficient evidence" of
Malik`s "direct involvement in matters that would be of
material and direct investigative consequence to Interpol, the
Supreme Court of Pakistan and other investigative and judicial
authorities around the world".

This evidence related to "certain financial dealings"
that Malik allegedly "conducted, supervised and acted as legal
attorney-in-fact for during the time preceding" his
appointment as Interior Minister, Ijaz claimed without giving

"Your appointment as Interior Minister was a direct
consequence of these dealings within the Zardari-Bhutto
family," he said.

The alleged evidence against Malik was "simply another
instance in a long line of corrupt and venal practices of the
Zardari government," Ijaz claimed.

"Mr Malik demonstrates a malice of forethought toward
me that is unacceptable. His repeated taunts and threats
against me during the past several weeks as he became
President Zardari`s point man on assassinating my character
and my family`s good name are a direct result of his knowledge
that I know everything about him as well," he said.

Accusing Malik and Zardari of stopping at no cost to
prevent his arrival in Pakistan, Ijaz said: "Mr Malik
miscalculated his brinkmanship by entangling himself with me.

You want a war with me, Mr Malik? You just got it."

Ijaz has been summoned by the judicial commission to
appear in person on January 24 to provide evidence regarding
the alleged memo that had sought US help to prevent a possible
military takeover in Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin
Laden in May last year.

Ijaz sparked a political crisis in Pakistan last year by
his claims that he delivered a secret memo on behalf of
President Asif Ali Zardari to the then Chairman of the US
Joint Chief of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, to help stave off a
possible military coup in Pakistan.

He claims that memo was drafted by then Pakistani
Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, who resigned in December
after the alleged memo became public.
The Pakistan government and Haqqani have denied
Ijaz`s claims.