ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s president Nawaz Sharif’s petition seeking a probe into the memogate scandal has been accepted for regular hearing by the Supreme Court but a date for hearing is yet to be announced.
Other than former ambassador to US Hussain Haqqani and Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, the petition also names as respondents President Asif Ali Zardari, Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Inter-Services Intelligence Agency chief Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir.
In his petition, Nawaz has prayed that the court summon all respondents in person to explain the memogate scandal which has ‘ridiculed’ and ‘maligned’ the armed forces of Pakistan. The alleged memorandum, the petition says, is mutinous, treasonous, shocking, repulsive and harrowing for any patriotic Pakistani.
Through a separate appeal, Nawaz has also requested the court to place Haqqani’s name on the Exit Control List, saying he might leave the country voluntarily or made to leave because of judicial proceedings against him.
Meanwhile, the federal government has assured the Lahore High Court that Haqqani will not be allowed to leave the country before the Parliamentary Committee on National Security completes its inquiry into the scandal.
The LHC was hearing a petition, filed by Barrister Javed Iqbal Jafree on behalf of citizen Iftikhar Rajput, praying that Haqqani’s name be added to the ECL and high treason proceedings be initiated against him. Two deputy attorney-generals appeared before the court of Justice Umar Ata Bandial on behalf of the federal government and informed the court that the matter will be investigated under supervision of the parliamentary panel’s chairman Senator Raza Rabbani.
Justice Bandial directed the lawyers to submit a written reply and adjourned hearing till December 9. On the lawyers’ request, the judge also ordered the petitioner to include the names of foreign affairs and interior secretaries among respondents. The petition originally named as respondents Cabinet Secretary Nargis Sethi, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Attorney-General of Pakistan Maulvi Anwarul Haq.
The petition says that Haqqani tarnished the image of both Pakistan and its armed forces and attempted to pledge Pakistan’s sovereignty to America and also accuses the former ambassador of holding the nationality of both Pakistan and the US. Rajput also claims that Haqqani, ignoring merit, was appointed the ambassador to Sri Lanka during Nawaz’s tenure and then joined the ‘Zardari Group’ to gain the lucrative post of ambassador to the US.
The petition also says that Haqqani wasted and minted a huge amount of public money (five million dollars) in unsuccessful defence of Dr Aafia Siddiqui in US Courts, which also caused humiliation to Pakistan.
(With additional reporting by Rana Tanveer in Lahore)
Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2011.