ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: As the embattled government’s chief executive placed himself squarely in the line of potential fire, the memogate offensive appeared to falter on its own, with the chief justice’s nominee refusing to head the commission to probe the scandal.
Presiding over a meeting of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Punjab parliamentary party at the Governor House in Lahore on Saturday, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said that it was his neck on the line, and not the president’s, if a connection is established between Islamabad and the controversial memo sent to the US military chief.
The premier said that the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had only moved the Supreme Court over the memogate because it feared the impending numerical strength of the PPP in the upper house of parliament following the Senate elections in March.
He stressed that he had personally called on the parliamentary committee on national security chairman Senator Raza Rabbani to initiate an inquiry over the memogate scandal – adding that the committee is a bigger platform than any other in the country.
Court’s nominee declines
Despite a strong offer, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s nominated candidate, Tariq Khosa, refused to head the memogate probe commission.
In an email to the Supreme Court registrar late Friday night, Khosa thanked the court for placing its trust in him, but offered his regrets to accept the task, citing personal engagements.
Khosa reportedly also met the chief justice at his residence on Saturday evening, after sending his refusal.
A nine-member bench of the apex court headed by the chief justice on Thursday had asked the court’s registrar to seek Khosa’s consent to head a commission to preserve the evidence in the memogate scandal.
A reputed cop, Khosa has served as Federal Investigation Agency director general and Inspector General of Balochistan. Following his retirement as Secretary Narcotics, Khosa is currently serving as the United Nations’ adviser on rule of law and criminal justice.
Sources attribute Khosa’s refusal to his close links to the Punjab administration and the judiciary.
In a press conference on Thursday, PPP’s former law minister Dr Babar Awan alleged a bias in Khosa’s nomination, referring to his brothers Nasir Khosa, Chief Secretary Punjab, and Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, a serving Supreme Court judge.
Khosa might have sensed that the government could malign him, his spotless career and his brothers, said Advocate Azhar Siddique while talking to The Express Tribune.
Following Khosa’s refusal, the chief justice will decide the course of action either in his chamber, or in open court. Interestingly, Khosa is also said to have refused the post of Punjab police chief offered earlier by the current Punjab administration.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2011.