Straight shooting: No army protocol for Ijaz, says PM

Published: January 23, 2012

Speaking to media, prime minister says Ijaz is not just insincere to Pakistan, but also to himself. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

LAHORE: 

A rude awakening was in store for Mansoor Ijaz on Sunday, with the prime minister rubbishing the Pakistani-American’s wish to be escorted by no less than army commandos upon his return to his native land.

Prime Minister Gilani stated categorically that no army security would be provided for the central character in the memo scandal – stating that the law does not allow the premier to order such a protocol.

The prime minister’s assertion that the provision of such security would be unlawful is in direct conflict with the order of the Supreme Court-mandated judicial commission probing the Memogate scandal, which had ordered that army security be provided to Ijaz if needed, to ensure his presence at the hearing.

In fact, Prime Minister Gilani expressed regret over the commission’s directives, saying that it should not have issued such an order in the first place, given that such a move was impermissible under existing laws. While talking to reporters outside his residence, he said that rules of the current procedure and even the Constitution of the country did not allow him to approve any protocol for Ijaz.

Having said that, the premier did assure that Ijaz would be given “required security,” adding that it was up to him to come or not. He said that according to rules and procedures, the Ministry of Interior provides security, and would do so in Ijaz’s case too.

In any case, said the prime minister, Ijaz was not a head of state that he would require such security.

“Pakistan will have to spend billions of rupees in order to arrange this kind of security for Ijaz. He is no head of state or viceroy.”

He said that the memo commission, before issuing such directives, should have also thought of this.

“The impression the country is giving to the world over the Memogate is that ‘a man whose credibility is questionable has shaken up the whole country’s foundation’,” he said to a question on whether there was a threat posed by the scandal – something he said was dangerous in itself.

In addition to rubbishing the provision of army security for Ijaz, the prime minister also gave a simple but ominous reply to a question on the government’s plan to place the Pakistani-American on the Exit Control List (ECL): saying bluntly that the government would comply with the directives of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security that is probing the scandal alongside the judicial commission.

Aitzaz vs Awan

Asked if Gilani had refused to accept Babar Awan as a minister in his cabinet on the direction of Aitzaz Ahsan, the premier said that Ahsan should not be criticised on baseless arguments. He stated that Ahsan had never demanded any such move and he would accept any course of action that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) decides for Awan.

Letter to Swiss courts

Taking a new stance regarding the letters to Swiss authorities, Gilani, who had earlier stated that he would honour and respect the court rulings, said that the matter was ‘subjudice’ and advised everyone including media and his party office bearers to not discuss the matter.

Husain Haqqani

When asked about Husain Haqqani, and whether he was residing in the Prime Minister House, Gilani said that when a controversy was created against Haqqani, he tendered his resignation just to pacify the media. The premier asserted that Haqqani was innocent since the allegations against him were still not proven.

Political alliances

Regarding the Senate elections and the strategy of the party, particularly with regards to the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Gilani said that all internal party matters, including the strategy for the Senate election, will be discussed with the PML-Q.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd,  2012.

Reader Comments (23)

  • Imran
    Jan 23, 2012 - 5:01AM

    Its not Mansoor Ijaz’s native land. He is American Citizen by birth, with no links whatsoever with Pakistan.

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  • Abid
    Jan 23, 2012 - 5:16AM

    Billions of rupees……huh!!!

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  • Well
    Jan 23, 2012 - 5:42AM

    Well, why does Haqqani have the security of PM House?
    What is he hiding from?
    Can I move in there too if I am ever sought in a sensitive matter
    that I wish to avoid?

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  • ADEEL759
    Jan 23, 2012 - 5:42AM

    Good PM Sahib, assewrt your authority. One day someone has to stand up to these shenanigans. Good coming…..

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  • It's (still) the economy, stupid
    Jan 23, 2012 - 6:14AM

    “American’s wish to be escorted by no less than army commandos upon his return to his native land”. Please note Mr. Mansoor Ijaz was born in Tallahassee, Florida and grew up on a farm in rural Virginia. Hence, he is not a native of Pakistan.

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  • Hafiz Shah Ali
    Jan 23, 2012 - 7:24AM

    It is not protocol but plain and simple fool proof security and the Memogate Commission has given orders that in addition to police army provides security.

    Seems that PM and other do not want Mansoor Ijaz to come to Pakistan to testify. I wonder why?

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  • Aamir
    Jan 23, 2012 - 7:42AM

    Mr. PM, how would you justify the billions of rupees being spent on your security ?????

    Also, why are you providing extra security to Haqqani, he is not a head of state or viceroy, and who are you to issue him a clean chit of being “innocent”, let the commission decide if he is innocent or guilty.

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  • zain
    Jan 23, 2012 - 7:42AM

    indeed a very good decisionRecommend

  • Faraz
    Jan 23, 2012 - 8:22AM

    Mansoor Ijaz is not a native of Pakistan. He is an American citizen by birth. His parents were born in Pakistan but that alone does not make him a native of Pakistan, going by that, my parents were born in India, that does not make India my native land. Please correct your facts before reporting.

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  • HoneyBee
    Jan 23, 2012 - 8:41AM

    He is no head of state or viceroy
    Well said PM. . .

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    Jan 23, 2012 - 9:29AM

    Mr PM you don’t have to get worried and speak out, what they have do,they have now started working in the nation interest so let them work,you don,t know how big a nursery of snakes up in the sleeve working around in Islamabad the beautiful.

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  • Gahratmand
    Jan 23, 2012 - 9:44AM

    This Mansoor guy is not a Pakistani – that’s a reality – Your country will look foolish if it gives any sort of special treatment to him, because he started the rumors & now claims to reveal more, so he should come in his own risk :)

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  • A. Khan
    Jan 23, 2012 - 9:58AM

    Does this mean Ijaz will be bumped off on arrival so Haqqani can finally leave the PM house ? I am sure Gilani must be tired of his house guest by now. And why is Haqqani hiding there if he has not done anything. It just shows how limited Gilani government’s control is in Pakistan.

    Gilani should certainly go down in history as the longest serving rubber stamp. Anyone else would have been worn out by now.

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  • Khurram
    Jan 23, 2012 - 11:09AM

    Somebody tell this PM that if his guy (Haqqani) would have been forth coming i.e. submitted his BB devices to the SC commission and also waived his privacy rights on the BB server data – then we would not need this Ijaz to visit and there would be no procession and circus in town. Haqqani has conveniently lost his BB devices and does not want waive his privacy rights.Recommend

  • Ashhad
    Jan 23, 2012 - 11:13AM

    @Aamir:
    You seem to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of normal judicial procedures. I am not a fan of this government at all, but Gilani is absolutely correct when he says that Haqqani, for the moment at least, is innocent. The court does not decide whether a man is innocent or guilty; it only decides whether a man is guilty or not. Yes, it’s nitpicking but there’s a fundamental reason behind it. Every single person is innocent, no matter what allegations have been made against him, until the court finds him guilty. It’s a basic universal principle of justice. Therefore, for the moment, Hussain Haqqani is absolutely innocent.

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  • Beatle
    Jan 23, 2012 - 11:22AM

    After observing so many un-resovled murders of so-called anti-establishment persons, and missing persons’ case pending in SC for years, only an in-sane can question as to why Haqqani is given shelter in the PM House.

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  • butt jee
    Jan 23, 2012 - 11:48AM

    Billions we spend on the the unnecessarily large protocol provided to the corrupt rulers of this country and that too with enormous inconvenience to the daily commuters and the residents along the routes of their movement. Mansoor Ijaz is not asking for any protocol. He is just asking for providing him fool proof security for which approximately 30 to 35 personnel from the Army are sufficient.

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  • Shaesta
    Jan 23, 2012 - 12:53PM

    Why?

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  • Khalid
    Jan 23, 2012 - 2:33PM

    @Imran:
    As his name and his features suggests , he might have links East Europe…!!!!

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  • Khalid
    Jan 23, 2012 - 2:53PM

    @Imran:
    But you choose to use his links which is Yahoo or Google etc.. to post your comment.

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  • Khalid
    Jan 23, 2012 - 4:18PM

    @Ashhad:
    Hussain Haqqani is absolutely innocent and I am still sixteen year old..!!

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  • Aftab kenneth Wilson
    Jan 24, 2012 - 12:37AM

    Both SC and Judicial Commission are working under “Dictation” so ask the masterminds behind this Memo issue to bear the expenses from the budget allotted to them. No need to spend a single rupee on the security of this rogue person from USA. If he is not willing to come then ask MOI to issue Red Warrant.

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  • Jan 25, 2012 - 6:01PM

    In view of the behave,
    adopted by the crown witness in case
    absolutely not acceptable,
    so according to my personal opinion,

    memo scandal must be liable to rejected.

    Recommend

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