Haqqani shies away from providing data

Published: January 9, 2012

Former Ambassador of Pakistan in United States Husain Haqqani coming out of Islamabad High Court after hearing of Memogate case on Monday. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID/ THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

ISLAMABAD: A fast-paced day of proceedings by the Memogate commission saw a number of interesting developments on Monday – including an exchange between former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani and the counsel for principal accuser Mansoor Ijaz over access to data regarding their alleged conversations on the issue. 

The proceedings held at the Islamabad High Court, which went well into the evening, saw a number of appearances, including by Haqqani and Nawaz Sharif, and fresh statements by the respondents, including spy chief Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha and army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Access to phone chats

In the midst of Haqqani’s testimony, Ijaz’s lawyer, Akram Sheikh, intervened, requesting the Supreme Court-mandated judicial commission to ask Haqqani to provide a waiver of privacy rights and submit his personal identification numbers of two BlackBerry phones, similar to what his client has submitted before the commission.

However, the former ambassador did not commit immediately, replying that due to the rush that he had left for Pakistan in, he had forgotten his old BlackBerry in his office in Washington DC, adding that he had changed phones and was now using a newer BlackBerry model.

As Sheikh zeroed-in to this non-committal, Zahid Bukhari (Haqqani’s counsel) brought in a new objection, saying “the counsel is representing Mansoor Ijaz without signing power of attorney (POA) and affidavits with Ijaz which is equivalent to forgery”.

“What if tomorrow Mansoor Ijaz refuses to accept everything, the learned counsel is stating here,” Bukhari added in a successful attempt to protect his cornered client.

“First he (Ijaz) may appear, give his testimony and evidence to the commission, then we will give our waiver and everything,” Bukhari contended.

Sheikh submitted that he has signed a power of attorney with his client and submitted it to the commission – however, since it was an electronic copy, he said he would have to submit a notarised one to the commission later.

A forensic expert of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Ali Imran also gave his testimony while briefing the commission about retrieving data from cell phones.

The commission observed that the attorney-general had contacted Research in Motion (RIM), the Canadian company that runs the highly-encrypted BlackBerry server, for data exchanged between Haqqani and Ijaz, but no response was received. However, a focal person appointed by secretary cabinet Nargis Sethi, Brigadier Zulfiqar, informed that RIM could be contacted through the Canadian High Commission for provision of data.

Following Haqqani’s statements, a forensic expert from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Commander Khalid Habib briefed the commission about the possibility of retrieving BlackBerry messages allegedly sent between the pair.

‘I didn’t do it’

Aside from the sole slipup, Haqqani struck a bold tone before the commission.

“I had no role in creating, drafting and/or delivering the memorandum,” Haqqani said, adding that he had no knowledge of the origin, authenticity or purpose of the said memo.

“I was falsely accused in the media and [by] Ijaz of being the person that communicated the contents of the memo,” said Haqqani, dressed in a grey suit with a Pakistan flag pin on his lapel.

Army security for Ijaz?

“Death threats have been received by Mansoor Ijaz through email,” Ijaz’s lawyer told the commission. Addressing Sheikh’s concern, the commission ordered Attorney General Maulvi Anwraul Haq to provide tight security for Ijaz upon his arrival in Pakistan.

“Army security can also be provided on request,” the commission ordered. Sheikh said Ijaz would appear for the next hearing.

Sheikh also alleged that Ijaz had been denied a visa and that the government was trying to implicate him in false cases.

However, the legal representative of the ministry of foreign affairs Sher Bahadur and the attorney-general submitted that Ijaz had not yet applied for a visa. Furthermore, the attorney-general also assured the commission that if Ijaz did not violate or breach any laws, no case would be registered against him – and if so the matter will be immediately brought to the Supreme Court.

The commission ordered Pakistan’s embassies in London and Bern to issue a visa for Ijaz “without any condition” so that he could appear at the hearing.

ISI chief’s request denied

Meanwhile, the ISI chief’s request to give the commission an in camera briefing was turned down by Justice Qazi Faiz Isa, who said that any sensitive information should be provided in a sealed envelope first.

“We will see after receiving this envelope that which part of the information is sensitive and what should be made public,” Isa said.

Army chief

Chief of Army Staff Gen Kayani in a written statement, given through the attorney-general, told the commission that his statement was the same as the one he had presented to the Supreme Court in the case’s initial proceedings. He said that he was unable to appear in person because he was in China on an official trip – but pledged to appear before the commission upon his return if needed.

The hearing was adjourned until Monday, January 16 with the order to convene meetings on a day-to-day basis from then onwards.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2012.

Reader Comments (47)

  • Truth
    Jan 9, 2012 - 11:10AM

    Actions speak louder than words. It’s obvious who wrote the memo.

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  • Khurram Mansoor
    Jan 9, 2012 - 12:03PM

    So now it is becoming obvious who wrote the memo.

    If this Haqqani has not written any thing why is he not giving the data,

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  • Faisal
    Jan 9, 2012 - 12:30PM

    HH is playing all the negative tactics, that proves enough of his suspect role in this whole episode..You need to prove your innocense, if you are clean then should’nt deny excess to BlackBerry data..Come HH take a courage and be clean

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  • Mir
    Jan 9, 2012 - 12:30PM

    If no case can be registered against mansoor ijaz then there is no use of investigative commission and then why would HH lawyer submit BBM to such commission. Looks like this case will be closed on lack of evidences…..just wait for another scandal.

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  • Anserali Khan
    Jan 9, 2012 - 12:44PM

    So Mr Hussain Haqani is not submitting the Blackberry data to the Commission appointed by Hon Supreme Court.
    Does it not in some ways prove that he is hiding the facts.
    And can anyone refuse to submit or handover data tot he Commission.?

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  • Paki-Australian
    Jan 9, 2012 - 12:48PM

    He is only stating the obvious. Let’s not jump at conclusions.

    Memo-gate who & why do nothing for the avg (man) on the street.

    At present PK institutions should be working together instead of attempting to bring the other down. We have more relevant & significant matters to deal with. SC is not gaining any brownie points from the public.

    Let a constitutionally elected govt perform its function!

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  • akhtar
    Jan 9, 2012 - 12:54PM

    well he did not choose the right person!
    the insistence of mr ijaz is the proof of conspiracy
    as he wasnunder no threat himself,then why is he going to courts and news papers to prove that he was asked to write it.most people will choose a reliable person to write these letters

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  • Anon
    Jan 9, 2012 - 1:14PM

    The goverment say’s , it didn’t do it. Haqqani is clean then why such a fuss to refuse the proceeding?

    Action speeks louder than words. It also create a predicament about who is right and who is wrong.

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  • sashayub
    Jan 9, 2012 - 1:46PM

    ….what crap! if the Tribunal is serious about receing the BB data they can ask and get it from the government directly….the problem actually is that everyone knows very well that RIM will never ever hand over any BB data to even the government of a country….the Tribunal is just creating circumstances that HH looks like a bad man….WE ALL KNOW RIM WILL NEVER HAND OVER BB DATA TO ANYONE !!!

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  • Ali Tipu
    Jan 9, 2012 - 2:01PM

    If he and his boss are not sent to jail and tried for treason then I dont think we need courts at all in this country. Let people kill each other and do loot and plunder. Its obvious now who wrote the memo and who asked HH to do so.Recommend

  • Aafiyat Nazar
    Jan 9, 2012 - 2:20PM

    “yaroon ke yar” he na. There is nothing for Haqqani to worry about…..No Swill Case letter….No memo…. No Hajj Scam… No PIA…No Steel Mill…. No bla bla

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  • Saim Baig
    Jan 9, 2012 - 2:39PM

    Its rightly said “You have nothing to fear, if you have nothing to hide

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  • IFTIKHAR-UR-REHMAN
    Jan 9, 2012 - 3:22PM

    So now it is clear as crystal that Haqqani is the author of the memo. If he was clean he would have had no hesitation in allowing access to his Blackberry records. Something fishy!!!!

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  • ASHRAF
    Jan 9, 2012 - 3:31PM

    HH must be handed over to agencies as the common man faces investigation.HH is no more than an employee of Pakistan govrrnment.Is there any law that an alleged employee will be investigated by parlimentary committees and stay in prime minister house there are institutions like FIA,FIU,etc for investigations

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  • Jan 9, 2012 - 4:18PM

    if he is innocent then he should be at forefront of investigations

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  • Jan 9, 2012 - 4:20PM

    @sashayub:
    then we should block BlackBerry in Pakistan

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  • IMDAD ALI SHAH
    Jan 9, 2012 - 4:49PM

    there would be alot more other confidential informaiton in the BBM of HH relating to Pakistan. I support HH on this. he should not handover any data to the commision!!!!

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  • Babar
    Jan 9, 2012 - 5:05PM

    Sure..he will not hand over his BB data, they may contain his private love letters, every one is entitled to some privacy.

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  • Eyes wide shut
    Jan 9, 2012 - 6:32PM

    Perceptions or an Aam Pakistani:

    M+SC= t(APPs-PMLN)

    where:
    Media
    APPs=All Political parties
    t=Trouble

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  • Beatle
    Jan 9, 2012 - 6:33PM

    Regardless of who did or did not write or submit the memo, isn’t it need of the hour that Armed Forces should restrict themselves to their professional duties. Is that group a of 15-20 corp commanders are more patriot and wise than the rest of the nation, and to issue certificates as to what is or isn’t beneficial for the country. I think SC should expand the hearing (as has been the practice lately) and determine once for all, the boundries of each and every organRecommend

  • Imran
    Jan 9, 2012 - 6:43PM

    There seems to be absolutely no evidence. Its a word of one well-known liar Mansoor Ijaz (American), against those of Pakistani Ambassador (and a professor), and a decorated General (Gen. Jim Jones).Recommend

  • Imran
    Jan 9, 2012 - 6:49PM

    @IFTIKHAR-UR-REHMAN:
    There is no law which condemns a man merely on the basis of suspicion. It is the job of the prosecution to establish beyond doubt that a person is criminal. Onus is now on the accuser (SC,PML-N,ISI), not the accused.

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  • akhtar
    Jan 9, 2012 - 7:07PM

    for all those who give too much importance to blackberry recordings of mr
    Haqani,I must reassure that commission can force him to give consent otherwise case will be decided against him
    the danger is that these days data can be corrupted
    the only guilty people here are ijaz and his supportersRecommend

  • The unsuspecting mind
    Jan 9, 2012 - 7:31PM

    @IFTIKHAR-UR-REHMAN:
    Your name is intriguiging. Is it a hybrid between the first name
    Of one famous personality and the last name of
    An ex Prosecutor now
    Living,I believe, in Qatar? The tone and nature of Your comment got me
    Thinking. Well just in case.

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  • akhtar
    Jan 9, 2012 - 7:47PM

    crazy all

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  • anon
    Jan 9, 2012 - 8:47PM

    No just court of law has ever required the accused to prove innocence and there are perfectly good reasons for this.

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  • tariq
    Jan 9, 2012 - 9:02PM

    Since when can a criminal case not be registered in Pakistan if a crime is committed this lawyer needs to go back to law school

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  • Misbah Hussain
    Jan 9, 2012 - 9:19PM

    It is not fair that just an unsigned memo written and delivered by Mansoor Ijaz be the only document to be examined by the courts. That would be like taking half the part from “half truth”. There is no dispute in Mansoor Ijaz claim that he wrote and delivered this memo. The dispute is whether he was a stooge, surrogate and puppet of Hussain Haqqani or not? Considering Mansoor Ijaz’s financial claims and his writings and his Fox News career, he cannot be a puppet for Hussain Haqqani or anybody. If all his writings (that are not disputed) against Pakistan, army and ISI are ignored that would be a great incentive and encouragement for other foreigners to do the same and still be a hero in Pakistan. The patriotic Pakistanis should show their love for their country and take this man on his own writings against the very existence of Pakistan.

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  • Mehreen
    Jan 9, 2012 - 9:21PM

    Is his voice really representing 180,000,000/-??? Citizens with balanced heads and approach are aware what is going on behind the scenes. Memo is nothing more than nonsense. A party which is only ruling Punjab due to turn-coats must first bring its own house in order and stop playing with the process of democracy and its system. Just imagine, our Judiciary is now on a Watch List (according to the Foreign Office – USA). If we really care and love our country then all types of conspiracies must stop before all Comes Tumbling Down.

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  • M. Sarwar
    Jan 9, 2012 - 9:23PM

    Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat— “Proof lies on him who asserts, not on him who denies”: principle of Justice since the 6th century.

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  • Imran
    Jan 9, 2012 - 10:20PM

    Im a lawyer in uk and i can tell u RIM can and is obliged to handover data under special circumstances. Are u telling me if british authorities asked RIM to handover data inrelation to terrorist activity of an individual (i.e. threatning national security) then they will refuse?

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jan 9, 2012 - 10:29PM

    Let Mansoor Ejaz come and testify before the Judicial Commission.

    The government should take necessary steps that no undue publicity should be given to Mansoor Ejaz when he land in Pakistan.

    Mansoor Ejaz is not the Head of the State of Pakistan therefore the local electronic and print media should refrain from presenting him as a “Hero” of Pakistan.

    For the local print and electronic media, let me quote an example that had any case would have been heard in the US Court and a Pakistani National would have gone to US to testify himself before the US court, CNN and other US local TV channels and US print media would have not at all publicized a Pakistani national in the similar manner as Mansoor Ejaz is been presented in Pakistani media.

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  • Hedgefunder
    Jan 10, 2012 - 12:02AM

    On second thoughts, perhap you should give evidence via video link, as nothing is SureThing in Pakistan !
    Especially Security !

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  • Raj - USA
    Jan 10, 2012 - 12:07AM

    @Imran:
    I quote you:
    “There is no law which condemns a man merely on the basis of suspicion. It is the job of the prosecution to establish beyond doubt that a person is criminal. Onus is now on the accuser (SC,PML-N,ISI), not the accused.”

    How good this would be had it been true in Pakistan. Please examine Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law.

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  • Raj - USA
    Jan 10, 2012 - 12:30AM

    I have one question. I understand that under Sharia Law of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan the testimony of one muslim overrules the testimony of two non-muslims. MI is Ahmadi and by law a non-muslim. So, HH’s testimony shall overrule MI’s testimony. Also, is it allowed for non-muslims to take oath on Holy Quran? Or, would it be construed as Blasphemy?

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  • Ch Allah Daad
    Jan 10, 2012 - 12:46AM

    If our Generals and their supporters consider Mansoor Ijaz a hero and honest person, then who are we to disrespect him? We have seen HH many times on CNN and other US TV channels defending Pakistan in darkest times, if our real defenders consider it a treason, then we all must do the same. Our Generals cannot be wrong.

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  • nelta john
    Jan 10, 2012 - 1:43AM

    @Truth:

    And what does Pasha has to hide he wants in-camera session.

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  • akhtar
    Jan 10, 2012 - 2:13AM

    @ raj,the current chief justice ,can change and interpret any laws
    judiciary seems to be geting involved in politics,this CJ first danced to the tunes of
    Musharaf and now is acting for Nawaz shareef,at least that is what it looks like

    Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Jan 10, 2012 - 2:21AM

    @Raj – USA:
    That’s an eye opener, as this guy has been playing a flute & fiddle to the elite of Pakistan for a long while, and yet he is a Ahmedi !!!
    So what happened to all the BS of them being person non gratia to the extent that this Hyprocritic society even denounces their very existance !!!!!
    Now this is your star witness !!!
    Get real people , this charade is going to get nowhere as people involved are simply not trustworthy or have any ethics either !!!
    This is a society which really needs to look itself in the mirror and from within !

    Recommend

  • Hu Jintao
    Jan 10, 2012 - 8:52AM

    @Raj – USA:

    understand that under Sharia Law of
    the Islamic Republic of Pakistan the
    testimony of one muslim overrules the
    testimony of two non-muslims.

    Where do you come up with that nonsense? Back it up with a authentic source

    Recommend

  • Shahbaz Khan
    Jan 10, 2012 - 10:23AM

    Mr. Haqqani is not serving his case by hiding behind privacy laws. It makes him look suspicious. He should cooperate with the inquiry commission unconditionally. The manner in which Zardari & Co. are handling this issue is also worseningthese suspicions. Similarly, his attempts to influence the court through the U.S. are also counter-productive; the statements coming out of the U.S. in Mr. Haqqani’s support remind one of the time when Raymond Davis was on trial.

    Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Jan 10, 2012 - 11:03AM

    @Hu Jintao:

    I do not know and I am not a Muslim. I have heard this many times from my Arab Muslims colleagues and friends during my 7 years stay in the Gulf in the 1980′s. They also told me that one Muslim man’s testimony can overrule testimony of two Muslim woman. If I am not correct, please let me know what is correct.

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  • Mr. Honest
    Jan 10, 2012 - 12:22PM

    Wow… One is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law…

    But in this case by Haqqani denying the provision of data to the commission of the judges (I left my cell fone back in America? ridculous?) I think it is obvious that if he is not the direct author, he is definitely the mastermind behind the memo… and we all know who his master is.

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  • Mubashir
    Jan 10, 2012 - 12:35PM

    Mr. Haqqani is casting doubts over his alleged involvement in the memo issue. If anything it makes him appear Guilty… now that he is showing a total lack of support and respect to the Judiciary.. I wonder if he would behave in a similar manner if the case was in a U.S court…very unfortunate.

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  • Mohsin
    Jan 10, 2012 - 1:17PM

    I am sure he said before he arrived in Pakistan, when this issue had just taken off that he would go to Pakistan WITH his mobile phones and do whatever is required of him to clear his name.

    Now it appears that the boss has told him, ‘I am legging it mate, you better do the same’.

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  • R S JOHAR
    Jan 10, 2012 - 1:24PM

    Memogate is going to result in something disastrous and a subsequent turmoil in Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Sajida
    Jan 11, 2012 - 7:08AM

    @sashayub Do a internet check before you make comments. RIM does handover info to governments. See for example:
    http://www.mobiledia.com/news/114392.html

    Recommend

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