Memogate scandal: Haqqani’s request for video testimony rejected

Published: April 27, 2012

Counsel cites safety and health concerns behind reluctance to return to Pakistan. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The judicial commission probing the Memogate scandal on Thursday turned down Hussain Haqqani’s request that his statement be recorded from abroad via a video link.

Haqqani’s counsel Zahid Bukhari had submitted an application to the Memo commission that sought permission for recording the former ambassador’s statement through video link. The application maintained that Haqqani’s doctors had advised against frequent travel. Bukhari also cited security concerns for his client’s reluctance to return to Pakistan earlier.

“I do not deny the importance of my client’s statement, but due to security threats and his medical condition I request the commission to record his testimony at the Pakistan Embassy in the US,” Bukhari told the commission.

When questioned by the chairman of the commission Justice Qazi Faez Isa regarding the security threats, Bukhari claimed his client had received numerous threatening messages on Facebook and Twitter.

Justice Isa said messages through social media did not necessarily equate to threats against life and asked him to identify which individual or organisation was behind the threats.

The commission also questioned Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri regarding steps to ensure Haqqani’s presence in Pakistan. The DAG, however, denied receiving any written request pertaining to the matter. Jahangiri also refused the commission’s directives to put Haqqani’s name on the Exit Control List.

While rejecting Haqqani’s application, the commission directed him to divulge details of the funds spent during his tenure as an ambassador. The commission also asked his counsel to list his property. Bukhari, in response, maintained that his client had a single bank account in the Abpara branch of the National Bank of Pakistan with a balance of Rs150,000. “My client has no property, he is a poor man,” he asserted.

Meanwhile, Mansoor Ijaz’s counsel Akram Sheikh requested the court to end Haqqani’s right of audience (right of representation).

“Haqqani is continuously disobeying court orders despite giving an undertaking to the apex court… as such his right of representation should be finished,” Sheikh told the commission. His application, however, was rejected as well.

The hearing has been adjourned till May 3. It is expected the commission will hear the case on a daily basis once it resumes.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • Mirza
    Apr 27, 2012 - 9:10AM

    Gen Mush has no confidence in the judiciary and he is sitting pretty. HH should not be a fool and learn lesson from the conviction of yet another PM by the SC. It is great that the judges have refused to treat the enemy of Pakistan and a defender of Pakistan equal, thus exposing them to the world. How could MI be the lone witness, the writer and carrier of the Memo and the chief prosecutor instead of Attorney General at the same time? No court of the world would reward the main actor of the drams with so much importance and chase his all around the world except the PCO judges in Pakistan.

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  • Saba
    Apr 30, 2012 - 8:37PM

    The courts are and were always biased towards PPP stalwarts. From Z.A Bhutto Shaheed to Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed, and from Hussain Haqqani to PM Gilani, history of courts speaks their clear interactions. The partial attitude of courts towards Hussain Haqqani, leaves no shadow of doubt they whatever the evidences are, he will be convicted because courts want so. At present Pakistan is at cross roads, the strenuous ties with USA and logjam in relations are just because we have lost our best mouth at Pakistan embassy in Washington. Our prime institution of justice has done nothing but damaging Pakistan’s interests. Memo commission has left no stone unturned in punishing Hussain Haqqani for all the wrong reasons. Mansoor Ijaz, a man without character and credibility has become a hero, unfortunate indeed. If the same trend goes on God forbid I have no doubt that Pakistan will be in great troubles.

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