ISLAMABAD: The Memogate Commission in its findings has exonerated President Asif Ali Zardari from any direct involvement in the memo scandal.
The commission conceded in its final report, presented before a larger bench of the Supreme Court that “no evidence was produced before us that would indicate that the President Asif Ali Zardari had either authorised the preparation of the memorandum or directed that it be sent to the American administration…”
The report submitted by the commission to the Supreme Court found guilty, however, former ambassador of Pakistan to the United States Husain Haqqani for preparing the memorandum. The commission, however, mentioned that it was also its considered view that Haqqani led Mansoor Ijaz into believing the memo had the authority of President Zardari.
Pakistani-American businessman and the main character in the memogate, Mansoor Ijaz, who conveyed it to the then US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen at the behest of Haqqani, failed to satisfy the commission that President Zardari had prior knowledge of the memorandum. The report added that Ijaz also confessed he did not have any validating proof in support of his claim.
The commission comprising three provincial chief justices headed by Balochistan High Court’s Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa had investigated the scandal thoroughly over five-months. Justice Mushir Alam, Chief Justice Sindh High Court and Chief Justice Islamabad High Court Justice Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rahman were the other two members of the commission.
In its final report the commission discussed the claims made by Mansoor Ijaz.
According to Ijaz, the memorandum had the support of President Zardari and in this regard he testified, “…he [Hussain Haqqani] said that it was coming from the President of Pakistan who wanted to put together a new national security team similar to the national security organization in the US. I agreed to help Haqqani and asked him what is the message he wants to be conveyed?”
Ijaz further told the commission during its proceedings that “He [Haqqani] then stated that in view of the sensitivity of the matter subsequent communication between us should, whilst referring to United States of America refer to “Isphani”, which was the name of his wife, and if referring to Pakistan government should refer to as “friends.”
According to Ijaz, in subsequent BBM messages Haqqani made the reference more specific by using the word “friend” for President of Pakistan. He also used word “boss” for him. The term “bad boys” was meant for Chief of Army Staff and ISI. Haqqani convoyed that to him (Ijaz) “If my friend and I feel sufficiently empowered in relation to the bad boys, I will ensure we get candor.”
The report said that the commission had sent a questionnaire to Ijaz and asked him if he could corroborate it with any other person including President Zardari. To this, Ijaz confessed that he has no documentary proof but had only relied and accepted Haqqani’s words that he had the approval of President Zardari.