Probe ISI too if you must: Asma tells SC

Published: December 29, 2011

Husain Haqqani's counsel says memo mentioned a national security team in Pakistan, while no such team exists here. PHOTO: EXPRESS/ FILE

ISLAMABAD: The relentless Asma Jehangir lay down the gauntlet on Thursday.

If the court wouldn’t abandon the memo case, it should be prepared to question not just the civilians, but also the khakis, warned Jehangir, counsel for the former ambassador to US Husain Haqqani.

Jehangir piled up a host of questions before the Supreme Court as she concluded her arguments against the maintainability of the petitions in the memogate scandal on Thursday. The entire affair smacks of foul play, Jehangir argued, as she attempted to convince the court to abandon the case in favour of a probe by an NA panel.

The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief left for London, without the prime minister’s permission, to meet Mansoor Ijaz, who had been writing against the ISI for the past three years with impunity, Jehangir argued.

If the court decided to hold a probe, it would also encompass the motive behind General Pasha’s visit to London to meet with Ijaz, Jehangir warned.

Jehangir insisted that the affair is a complicated political matter and should be left to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security for a decision. The judges did not appear entirely convinced.

“Do you want us to leave all these questions for the committee to decide?” said Justice Jawad S Khwaja. “I am also a parent and a citizen of this country and feel concerned,” the justice observed.

Jehangir said the judge was right in expressing anguish, but could not break free from the confines of the constitution’s dictates regulating his work.

She said Ijaz’s reply had been full of contradictions, and said that even General James Jones, who claimed to have delivered a memo to Admiral Mike Mullen, doubted the Pakistan government’s capacity in delivering on the terms set out in the memo.

Her query left the chief justice quizzical: “Why did General Jones deliver the memo to Admiral Mullen if he felt this way?” he observed

Jehangir then attempted to punch holes in Ijaz’s credibility. The court should not attach more credibility to the statement of Ijaz than that of her client, who made ‘hectic efforts for safeguarding the country’s interest’ as the ambassador to the US, she argued.

The Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who is protecting our borders, had confirmed the existence of the memo, the chief justice shot back.

Jehangir talked about General Kayani’s responsibilities, but added that history bore testimony to the fact that generals too made mistakes.

She added that the right forum for holding her client responsible for his alleged crime was the PCNS, or a probe under the Inquiries Commission Act of 1956.

Do you seek an inquiry for your client and later referral of that inquiry to an authority through the government, asked Justice Saqib Nisar.

Precisely, Jehangir answered, adding this is what she meant when she sought ‘due process’ for Haqqani.

The petitioners, meanwhile, insisted that the court forge ahead. The memo is an American conspiracy to pit the army against the government, argued petitioner Barrister Zafarullah.

He asked the court to dismiss Jehangir’s application against maintainability because the case is related to the infringement of the collective security of the country.

Another petitioner, Tariq Asad, said the court has the jurisdiction to entertain the case and order a probe into the matter.

Proceedings were adjourned for Friday (today) after counsel for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Nawaz Sharif said he would require time to convince the court that it has the jurisdiction to order a probe under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

The court directed the petitioner to wrap up their arguments and rebuttal by Friday so it could take a decision on the maintainability of the petitions.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2011.

Reader Comments (40)

  • talha
    Dec 29, 2011 - 12:49PM

    Seriously Asma???

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  • MarkH
    Dec 29, 2011 - 12:49PM

    Technically most of it fits into the “figment of his imagination” group in regard to its worth. There’s not a single thing said to be in the memo that had happened or even had begun to happen at any point along the way. Truly, that memo in and of itself has not harmed or changed a thing in Pakistan. The ISI and the army’s reaction to the very idea of its existence is doing the damage. You’re all fighting a problem that never really existed in the first place. The US itself due to its involvement in the region probably was already watching current events for signs of a military coup and made plans in regard to it even before the memo was just an idea in someone’s head. Those plans probably weren’t in the favor of the army’s hold on the power, either.

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  • Asad Jan
    Dec 29, 2011 - 1:02PM

    Present Govt have taken the country to the brink of collapse, where ordinary person is dying for basic necessity of life and yet the greatest pride they have is 18 amendment and yet another apothy is there are people who are there to support, just to earn their medals. May Allah save us from the tyrants.Recommend

  • EyeRoll
    Dec 29, 2011 - 1:09PM

    I have lost all respect for Asma after this case.

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  • Sadia
    Dec 29, 2011 - 1:23PM

    “Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heading the nine-member bench, observed that the petitioners were asking the court to ascertain facts regarding the origin, objective and purport of the memo.”

    is this a court or an investigating agency???

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  • Ishrat Salim
    Dec 29, 2011 - 1:37PM

    Let the law takes its course to a logical end….Ms Asma is trying her best to interpret the issues in her client`s favor, which is fine ( because she is paid to do so ), however, twisting facts & presenting same does not suite her stature.She shud not hold press conference on this issue outside the court as the matter is subjudiced & she shud avoid same as her outbursts might influence judgement which wll then be outcried in her appeal…Recommend

  • Asim
    Dec 29, 2011 - 2:07PM

    I agree with Asma Jehangir on the point raised by her that what was doing DG ISI doing in London and meeting with Mansoor Ijaz.

    I wonder who is behind Mansoor Ijaz. Why he has gone against Haqqani ( if they were working on it together). What made the two of them so against each other.

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  • Vaqar - UK
    Dec 29, 2011 - 2:19PM

    @MarkH

    Go fly a kite, and let the law take its course in Pakistan.

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  • Karima
    Dec 29, 2011 - 2:27PM

    The CJ and the SC should stop seeking headlines themselves and instead concentrate on hearing all the other cases filed by the public that never see the light of day.

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  • zain
    Dec 29, 2011 - 2:42PM

    i totally agree with you asma

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  • swair
    Dec 29, 2011 - 2:44PM

    Asma Jahangir is showing mirror to all those who had the habit of acting beyond their domain be it the Apex Court or the establishment. Her arguments in the case has showed how minnows sitting in the so-called powerful institutions subverting the democratic process in the country.Recommend

  • Dec 29, 2011 - 2:45PM

    Truly it is a matter of national security.I am surprise to here Asma Jangeer say memo is only a piece of paper.All memos are written on a piece of paper but it means somthing.I hope no compramises are made on this issue.

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  • Dec 29, 2011 - 2:50PM

    Every institution should work within the ring of institution and law,
    but some elements in the politics have power to cross the ring
    and created political uprising within and out side limits.
    Asma jahangir by her arguments power trying expose the legal picture
    but presiding figure disregard some important angles of the case.

    Judiciary is a honorable institution of the state,its respect must be saved at any cost
    allegation of bias,as Asma describing may become a black dot on the face of…can imbalance the scale of justice.

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  • Kashif
    Dec 29, 2011 - 3:03PM

    Memo has a reality and govt is answerable for it. Soon we come to know the reality of it.

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  • IFTIKHAR-UR-REHMAN
    Dec 29, 2011 - 3:19PM

    @EyeRoll:
    So have I

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  • dv sikka
    Dec 29, 2011 - 4:24PM

    Let us hope that in the end the truth will come out. As of now all we see is rumour mongering. To say that memo is a figment of imagination does not hold because of why the ambassador resigned. Pakistan is under a cloud for nothing is a debatable issue. Let us wait for the judgement.

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  • Zuhaib
    Dec 29, 2011 - 5:11PM

    True is that !!!

    Its truly a peace of paper, untill its not signed and sealed.

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  • Anserali Khan
    Dec 29, 2011 - 5:23PM

    Disappointed in Ms Asma Jahangir.
    Let the truth come out.What the memo suggests is treasonRecommend

  • MALIK WAQAR HAIDER AWAN
    Dec 29, 2011 - 6:05PM

    we never allow our family members to discuss our disputes in public what to talk about national issues with Americans!
    The american General has confirmed the verosity of memo, even then Mrs. Jahangir insisting “Figment of imagination”. Even otherwise if it is Figment of imagination then why Governent has dismissed Mr. Hiqqani. One thing more when a cases are sub-judice before the Courts no body should comment upon the pending cases in press. Sad state of Affairs.

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  • Sajjad Ashraf
    Dec 29, 2011 - 6:17PM

    There is one fact established that the :memo” exists. Cannot understand what has happened to Ms. Asma Jahangir during twilight of her career. She is dendending the indefensible…

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  • skakrullah khan
    Dec 29, 2011 - 6:52PM

    Asma Jahangir ‘s basic point is that the petitioners have to prove that their fundamental rights have been voilated by the memo .Only then would the court have jurisdiction to entertain the petition . The learned judges , in their comments , are persistently evasive on this crucial issue . But minimum requirement for a fair disposal of the case is to settle this issue before the the court proceeds any further .

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  • Alamzeb
    Dec 29, 2011 - 7:09PM

    @MarkH:

    Typical naive American response. Sorry to say dear fellow, you are talking bubbles.

    “You’re all fighting a problem that never really existed in the first place.” This comment sums up your ignorance. Well done.

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  • Saleem
    Dec 29, 2011 - 8:32PM

    I am really disappointed from Asma’s presentation on this issue in Supreme Court. She keeps going in circles and not addressing the core issue whether her client was involved in writing the memo or not? Whether text messages sent back and forth were indeed from her client’s balckberry or not? According to her, rights of her client should also be kept in mind. She is more concerned about her client and thus her fee rather than rights of citizen of Pakistan. Can she answer if anyone can sell out country just like that?

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  • Mirza
    Dec 29, 2011 - 8:33PM

    @skakrullah khan:
    You are right, the SC is not answering the question “fundamental rights have been voilated by the memo”. If not then there is no justification of this public show trial. Asma or govt did not refute the existence of memo. Their stand is the memo and its content are false and figment of imagination of a double agent. In addition there is no smoking gun to prove that HH “wrote or delivered” the memo. Many people were in contact with HH and that does not porve he was dictating each of them memos. Mansoor I, has to provide proofs without doubt to implicate the govt. The burden of proof is on him and not HH.
    Thanks and regards,
    Mirza

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  • ali
    Dec 29, 2011 - 9:12PM

    Ok if this was lie then why did haqqani resign and why didn’t Zardari reply.Recommend

  • Harry Stone
    Dec 29, 2011 - 9:13PM

    The reason this memo story has remained in the news is because it fits the unfortunate narrative which has become PAK.

    It is great drama as it takes the focus away from the problems facing PAK just as the NATO boarder incident. Meanwhile the economy continues to crumble, the security situation deteriorates, and the people suffer.

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  • Tahir Khan
    Dec 30, 2011 - 12:32AM

    Let me answer a few things on behalh of Asma and Haqqani.

    “Figment of immagination” .: She is not denying the existence of the Memo. She is implying that Mr. Mansoor imagination are at works in this Memo, not haqqani dictations.

    “Basic Rights Voilation” : There is no trail so far. What we have is maintainability of the case. Which means should case even be heard in this court. Technically no, as a few posters mention that ours Lords are avoiding to address the Basic rights voilation question.

    “Why Haqqani re4signed” : So who ever, whenever, wherever there is a trail, he won’t be accused of being influining the outcome as an ambassader to the US. This has been stated by him a 100 times and still does every day on his twiter.

    “Role of Supreme Court” Is not investigation, Thats the job of exective / Prosecution / Government, Please get all the military People off of this board. All they are doing is confusing people over here.

    Once charges are brought up by the prosecution, the SC can decide about the Guilt.

    ISI by the very definition is not an investigative Agency. So Mr. Pasha shouldn’t have gone to London, without any mandate from the PM. He shouldn’t be investigating this issue Period. That is not his Job. He is not an investigator.

    Lets just say he exceeded his duties and went, why the Army Duo, Pasha and Kayani kept quit about this issue to twenty days, when they themselves said that time was of essance?

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  • Ulrike Schultz
    Dec 30, 2011 - 1:18AM

    @Saleem:
    It is the duty of a lawer to have the right of his / her client mind and only this and nothing else.

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  • Aftab kenneth Wilson
    Dec 30, 2011 - 1:21AM

    I think that the present lot in our SC is only looking for some reasonable excuse to remove some from their present high positions simply to pave way for some hand picked establishment’s future setup. All this is not only figment of imagination of a person who is also known to have worked for some other known agencies but it looks like bobby trap in our system of governance and its pillars.

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  • Khadim Husain
    Dec 30, 2011 - 6:08AM

    Asma Jahangir’s ground has no bases, she is saving “Boss”, not the Haqqani. That was the same boss that sent Babar Awan with bags full for Supreme Court Bar’s elections. Everyone know that If Haqqani is indicted, he will name the “Boss”, and Boss is worried because everyone has seen what was happened to Mian Nawaz Shariff and Javed Hashmi. Whether in Javaid Hashmi case that was not a paper.

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  • K B Kale
    Dec 30, 2011 - 6:16AM

    As the memo was not signed by any person in Govt, it was a worthless piece of paper. Why would Haqqany choose an alien journalist to deliver it when he could have met Mullen to hand it over? As an Ambassador, he must have met Mullen a few dozen times ‘officially’ to hand it over.
    On the other hand, institutions like ISI would need goofy carriers and could use such a route.
    According to me, viewing from far-off city away from Pakistan or USA, I think it has all the hallmarks of an ‘inside’ job.
    I honestly wonder why Haqqani was ‘instructed’ to quit as emphasised by PM’s office!

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  • Dec 30, 2011 - 11:04AM

    What is intriguing in the whole affair is how come ISI chief set up that meeting in London with Mansoor Ijaz? How did he contact him? Did he use blackberry or some other channel? Can he provide these to the Apex court? Did ISI chief’s have regular contact with Mansoor Ijaz before or is it the first time? If mansoor Ijaz was writing against Army establishment was a ruse to mislead the public about his real role in Pakistan or for that matter the CIA?

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  • I wnot fool myself
    Dec 30, 2011 - 12:25PM

    The present honorable judges of SC have developed their own brand of a supreme court unheard of before in the world. I get so puzzled I normally skip news related to SC

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  • MiwayOrHiway
    Dec 30, 2011 - 12:43PM

    @captainjohann: Yes. Rules should be evenly applied in justice.

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  • Akhtar Rana
    Dec 30, 2011 - 8:02PM

    @EyeRoll: ..By reading her arguments, i remember, one of the illetrate lady in a village who always complained against her husband no matter where she is or whatever is the issue…THE REAL ISSUE here is not ISI or Army..it is MEMO..the case is not filed by ISI or ARMY but Nawaz Sharif..Asma should have done better…What a waste of her qualifications..Recommend

  • Akhtar Rana
    Dec 30, 2011 - 8:05PM

    @Sadia: important is Justice..not the nature of proceedings…but unfortunately we are used justice delayed and long useless trials…It would take time for us to understand real purpose of Courts and justice system…

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  • Sumaira
    Dec 31, 2011 - 6:09PM

    Is Mansoor Ijaz CIA/US agent succeeding in destabilizing in political System of Pakistan? He succeeded in getting scalp of Hussain Haqqani. Supreme Coutr has also got embroiled. Nawaz Sharif as usual, without thinking jumped the gun. And every talk show, believe it or not in shielding Army from take over, east Pakistan fiasco, Kargil Oct 1998,Mehran, GHQ attack and Abbotabad is getting day in and day out excoriated in the minds of people. Despite civilians are accountable but not Generals. Without investigating Mansoor Ijaz despite his controversial past activities, we dragged our own man. Things are fishy on the part of Mansoor Ijaz, when he says he is ready to appear before court, why he did not so far?. He is just issuing controversial statements to make situation worse, we should not pay focus on CIA’s mouthpiece non sense talks.

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  • Dec 31, 2011 - 6:11PM

    Nobody denies the memo written and delivered by Mansoor. What in question is whether double agent Mansoor is lying or not? If the memo does not have HH’s finger prints on it then it is his words against MI. No court can convict on mere words of a shady character who has written extensively against Pakistan and ISI. Either MI is a truthful person or he is a liar, he cannot be both. Let us not pick and choose from his writings. The burden of proof is on MI and not HH or the govt. The only proof MI has is “he was in touch with HH, not what was going on”. Many people were in touch with HH, as required by his job.

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  • K B Kale
    Jan 1, 2012 - 9:48AM

    @Ishtiaq:
    If Ijaz is as savvy as he seems to be, he might have given the memo to HH who might have read it & said, “Don’t do anything so foolish”. So even if his fingerprints are found on that scrap of paper, it doesn’t mean a thing. (From May 9 to today, no paper will anyway retain fingerprints!) Only incriminating evidence against HH would be the recorded conversation, if any, from their BlackBerry phones if it available with RIM & if RIM agrees to hand it over.
    But looking from the point of view of who stood to gain, it is clear who the perpetrator is likely to be!

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  • Gul-e-Nargis
    Jan 4, 2012 - 6:04PM

    The honorable Chief Justice of Supreme Court spared no opportunity to undermine democratic Government. As a third pillar of state Supreme Court must realize its duties and should not forget the tenure of a dictator during which honorable Chief Justice was dragged on roads. Why one does not understand that it is democracy that allows institution to work independently and specially Pakistan Peoples Party never dented upon Judiciary and bowed before its decisions. Being a soft target Pakistan Peoples Party was always maligned and subverted by judicial cadre and establishment. Today, those who are pretending to be the great subservient of this nation and judiciary, stormed and violated sanctity of same institution. God forbid if democracy is derailed just because of a shady and dubious character Mansoor Ijaz, it will be a great great setback to Pakistan and it might be we are unable to see democracy for several generations. I wonder just because of a US-National, and agent of foreign agency we are downplaying the threats to Pakistan’s democracy. Shame on us…..Recommend

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