Will Mansoor Ijaz come to Pakistan on Jan 24?
Islamabad: Mansoor Ijaz’s arrival in Pakistan now seems to be doubtful, even after the grant of visa to the Pakistani-American businessman.
Ijaz, the central character in the Memogate scandal that has sparked a political crisis in Pakistan, on Saturday accused the Pakistan government of trying to prevent him from testifying in Islamabad on January 24 and alleged that Interior Minister Rehman Malik has launched a smear campaign against him.
On Saturday, Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq called a meeting to finalise arrangements for Ijaz’s security. The meeting was attended by Defence Secretary Nargis Sethi, Interior Secretary Khawaja Siddiq Akbar, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and representatives of law enforcement agencies, according to the Dawn.
Later, the Dawn quoted Haq as saying: “I can’t disclose what arrangements have been made, but rest assured that foolproof security is in place after covering all possible angles and aspects to provide safety to Mr Ijaz”.
However, Ijaz’s counsel, Akram Sheikh, wrote letters to Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and the Attorney General yesterday, hinting that he would advise his client not to enter Pakistan if the armed forces failed to give security.
Sheikh, in the letter, wanted information about the arrangements that have been made to ensure Ijaz is fully safe in Pakistan.
“Unless I receive a formal commitment from you that…, I will not be in a position to advise my client to travel to Pakistan to be before the commission on January 24 as his life will be under threat,” the letter said.
“Please also note that your failure to immediately confirm to me your commitment to comply with the commission’s direction by ensuring my client’s safety in Pakistan will render you in clear contempt of court, something that I will formally take up before the commission on the morning of January 24,” it added.
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.