On one hand, the judicial commission constituted by the Supreme Court to probe Memogate formally served notices to all respondents in the case on Wednesday – while, on the other, one of the protagonists of the controversy is set to challenge the constitution of the body.
Former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani held a meeting with his legal team at the office of his former counsel Asma Jehangir wherein it was decided that a review petition will be filed in the Supreme Court over its decision to appoint a probe commission to look into the memo affair.
The move is expected in the next few days.
Unmoved by the Supreme Court turning down their pleas to dismiss the case, Haqqani and his legal team seem adamant on their previous stance that, while the former ambassador will present himself to any inquiry conducted under due process of law, his fundamental rights will be protected under all circumstances and if need be legal actions to ensure that could be taken in Pakistan and abroad.
Left without a lawyer following Jehangir’s refusal to appear before the commission, Haqqani will also have a new lead counsel – Advocate Syed Zahid Husain Bukhari, who will be assisted by Advocate Sajid Tanoli. Jehangir, his previous lawyer, refused to appear before the commission because she expressed fears that the ISI might influence the body to get the result it wants.
Asma Jehangir and Idrees Asharf will work on the review petition that will be filed within a few days.
Haqqani’s new lead counsel is a senior advocate with more than 40 years experience in criminal law. He was appointed Judge in the Lahore High Court in 1995 and Prosecutor General Punjab in March 2009. He represented Benazir Bhutto in the 1990s in a number of cases filed against her, many thought, out of political victimisation.
Meanwhile, the court has put all respondents in the probe on notice for January 9.
Aside from Haqqani, the respondents include the President Asif Ali Zardari, Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Director General Inter-Services Intelligence Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha and US businessman Mansur Ijaz.
According to television channel Geo News, Ijaz, the chief accuser, has agreed to come to Pakistan and appear before the commission in a letter – but has requested that he be provided adequate security upon his arrival.
He also asked for assistance on getting a visa to travel to Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2012.