The judicial commission probing the Memogate scandal has given Mansoor Ijaz one final chance and has summoned the Pakistan-American businessman on February 9, Express News reported on Tuesday.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa, who is heading the commission, said that the commission will not travel abroad to record Ijaz’s statement. However, it has decided to send the secretary of the commission to meet with the Pakistani-American aboard his flight to Pakistan.
It further issued directives to ensure fool proof security for Ijaz’s arrival, stay and departure.
The commission has said that a letter will be written to the Supreme Court to request that the four week deadline to finish the probe be extended.
The Pakistan-American businessman, who is one of the central characters of the Memogate scandal, has twice denied coming to Pakistan to record his statement before the commission, citing security issues.
Earlier today, Interior Minister Rehman Malik had stated that Ijaz’s name had not been placed on the Exit Control List and that the interior ministry had issued a clarification on the matter. Malik was ordered to appear before the commission to respond to the ‘threatening’ statements he gave regarding Mansoor Ijaz’s visit to Pakistan.
Following the order, Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq had talked to Malik who said that he will appear before the commission today.
“The commission has ordered the interior minister to appear before the commission today and explain his statements about Mansoor Ijaz’s security,” attorney general Maulvi Anwarul Haq earlier told reporters.
The minister had warned that the government will place Ijaz’s name on the Exit Control List, if requested by the parliamentary committee formed to probe the scandal.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa, heading the bench, had inquired why Ijaz was not coming to Pakistan. Ijaz’s lawyer Akram Sheikh had said that his client wanted to bring all proofs to the commission, but the interior ministry had threatened to place his name on the Exit Control List (ECL).
Sheikh added that the army should be the focal point of Ijaz’s security in the country.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had earlier ruled out army security for Ijaz, saying that the government will not spend billions of rupees on a “dishonest” person.
The Supreme Court had formed the judicial commission on December 30 last year and had given a four-week deadline to complete the investigations.
Parliamentary panel rejects Raja Riaz plea
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, tasked with probing the Memogate scandal, has rejected Pakistan Peoples Party leader Raja Riaz’s plea to become a party in the case, terming it “an irrelevant plea”.
Raja Riaz, who is the opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly, requested the panel to move against Ijaz for not only Memogate but also for playing a key role in toppling former premier Benazir Bhutto’s government.
Haqqani’s counsel wants Ijaz to be held in contempt of commission
Husain Haqqani’s counsel Zahid Bukhari, while speaking to the media before the hearing, said that Ijaz should be held in contempt of the commission for not appearing as ordered several times.
He added that the security had been arranged as per Ijaz’s demands and if he had any issues with the arrangements, he could have asked for the required changes.
Bukhari further said that there was no law which supported the commission going out of the country to record Ijaz’s statements.
Government not creating hurdles in Ijaz’s way: Chandio
Federal Law Minister Maula Bux Chandio has said that the government is not stopping Ijaz from coming to Pakistan and presenting his stance in front of the commission.
Speaking to the media in Hyderabad, Chandio said that the government was not creating hurdles in Ijaz’s way.
“I question what threats his visit to Pakistan pose to his life,” Chandio said. “He [Ijaz] might be a VIP, in fact, a VVIP. We could have provided him security. We don’t have anything against his visit to Pakistan.”