LAHORE: According to legal experts, the tables can be turned on the man who called out former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani on Memogate.
According to sources, experts have given the go-ahead to the government regarding initiating ‘high treason’ proceedings against Mansoor Ijaz, despite his American citizenship.
So far, however, the government has remained reluctant to take action against Ijaz.
Sources say that legal pundits have informed Interior Minister Rehman Malik that even a foreigner, “who abrogates or attempts to abrogate, subverts or attempts to subvert the Constitution by unconstitutional means,” shall be guilty of high treason.
What may Ijaz reportedly face a court hearing over? Sources say the proceedings will take up allegations that Ijaz was involved in intrigues to topple the 1989 government of Benazir Bhutto.
According to legal specialists, the government can prosecute Ijaz if the prime minister orders the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs as well as the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to initiate constitutional proceedings. The president of Pakistan as constitutional head of state, as well as sovereign authority of the country, can send a reference to the prime minister, while a resolution can also be tabled in parliament by any parliamentarian.
Another option could be for any citizen to approach the court and make the federation a party through a constitutional petition for taking action against Ijaz under high treason. The Supreme Court can then make a reference to parliament.
According to sources, the legal experts informed the government that there is sufficient material, including video recordings and articles against Ijaz, to prosecute him.
Pakistan Peoples Party members are also putting pressure on the party to table a resolution in parliament for taking action against Ijaz on allegations of being involved in intrigues over Benazir’s government, maligning Pakistan’s sensitive institutions through articles and trying to create collisions between state institutions as well as destabilising the country through his articles, sources said.
After receiving the necessary nod, the interior ministry has asked the concerned authorities to collect material in this regard against Ijaz although no action has been taken yet.
Keep Ijaz in Pakistan
Meanwhile, Haqqani’s counsel will submit an application today (Monday) before the judicial commission inquiring into Memogate to ensure that Ijaz is bound to stay in Pakistan until a verdict is reached.
The contents of the application stated that both Haqqani and Ijaz are respondents in the case and should hence be treated equally.
Haqqani’s counsel, Syed Zahid Hussain Bokhari, while talking to The Express Tribune, said that if Ijaz fails to appear before the commission, the commission should pass its opinion after closing the matter.
He added that when the court had bound Haqqani to not leave the country till the case was decided, the commission should also ensure that Ijaz does not leave Pakistan till the inquiry is finalised.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2012.