ISLAMABAD: The Judicial Commission probing the memogate scandal rejected former ambassador to US Husain Haqqani’s adjournment application on Thursday.
The commission also directed the government to ascertain a list of his property details and submit it before the court by April 26. During the course of the hearing, the commission expressed its discontent over Haqqani’s absence to record his statement, despite the commission’s directives in the previous hearing to ensure his presence.
Haqqani’s lawyer, Zahid Bukhari said that his colleague, Asma Jahangir, was aboard and that the Supreme Court was likely to take up the matter of him appearing via video link on April 20, hence requesting the hearing to be adjourned till the SC comes to a decision.
However, the commission rejected his adjournment application.
Haqqani, despite his commitment to appear before the commission within four days notice, had not presented himself in court citing life threats against his person, and claiming the court should display equality in allowing the former Ambassador to appear via a video link as Mansoor Ijaz had been.
“We have given [Haqqani] enough time and we hope he would ensure his presence in the next hearing and record his statement,” Justice Essa observed.
While submitting two new medical certificates of Haqqani, Bukhari informed the commission that his clients’ statement was important, suggesting either to wait for the SC order or record Haqqani’s statement in Washington DC.
Earlier, he had informed the court that his client had written a consent letter to Blackberry manufacturers Research in Motion (RIM) for waiver of security, adding that he was waiting on a reply from RIM.
“Either they will reply to me or my client,” he added, to which the commission directed him to submit RIM’s reply to the secretary commission.
Meanwhile, Mansoor Ijaz’s counsel Sharjil Adnan Sheikh argued that Husain Haqqani had continuously disobeyed the commission’s orders of appearing before it, so his right of audience should be rescinded. On this Justice Essa issued notices to Haqqani and asked his counsel to submit reply on the next hearing date.
Director General American Desk of Foreign Office Dr Sohail Khan claimed that he did not get a report from Pakistan’s embassy in Washington DC about Haqqani losing two mobiles phones which he was using during an ambassador.
On this Justice Essa expressed his dismay and asked Dr Khan, “Are you here to play games with the commission. You are a concerned director and you don’t know anything about the issue’.
Meanwhile the commission called Secretary Foreign office Jalil Abbas Jilani, and asked to explain about the secret fund used by ambassador. However he briefed the commission in- camera. Later, the commission asked Secretary Foreign office to submit details in secret envelopes which would be returned to him.
Meanwhile PML (N) lawyer Naser Bhutta drew the commission’s attention towards a news item published in The News, wherein Jahangir had issued remarks over the commission.
The commission expressed displeasure over her remarks, directing that the lawyer should follow the codes of conduct and avoid issuing controversial statements. However, Bukhari informed the commission that she did not mean to insult the commission, adding that besides being a lawyer she had also served as the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and her intentions were not to insult the commission.