President snubs SC deadline; govt says no need for case

Published: December 16, 2011
Asif Ali Zardari
The government abstained from submitting a reply by the president. This opens up a fresh issue between the executive and the judiciary.

President Asif Ali Zardari The government abstained from submitting a reply by the president. This opens up a fresh issue between the executive and the judiciary.

US businessman 
Mansoor Ijaz
In an 81-page detailed reply, Ijaz has continued to hit out at Haqqani – but adding that the president’s involvement wasn’t a certainty at all. Former ambassador to US Hussain Haqqani
The central accused in the case, Pakistan’s former envoy to the US had submitted his reply earlier – along with a plea that the case be dismissed. ISI chief Lt Gen 
Shuja Pasha 
Though there is no information about the ISI chief’s reply, it can be derived from the army chief’s response that the spymaster suspects the worst. Chief of Army Staff 
Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani
From the excerpts available, it appears that the army chief has taken the ISI chief’s word on the matter. He said there is a need to further investigate the matter. Prime Minister 
Yousaf Raza Gilani
The response by the government was simple: It has nothing to do with the memo – and, in any case, the matter is being investigated by a parliamentary panel. President 
Asif Ali Zardari
The government abstained from submitting a reply by the president. This opens up a fresh issue between the executive and the judiciary.

All replies are in, except one – and perhaps the most important one.

Thursday saw the Supreme Court’s deadline pass with no reply from President Asif Ali Zardari in the Memogate scandal case.

Replies from the heads of the army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), however, were safely tucked away after they were submitted to Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq. The military’s position appears to have been formed by ISI Director General Shuja Pasha, who seems convinced of foul-play following a shadowy meeting in London with US businessman Mansoor Ijaz.

The federal government did submit a reply: That the SC should dismiss the petition because sufficient investigations by the executive itself are already under way.

Also submitted through the Attorney General (AG), the government’s reply questioned the very necessity of the SC hearings, arguing that the parliamentary committee on national security is already probing Memogate. The government also restated its unwavering position that neither the president nor the prime minister nor any other government official have anything to do with the alleged memo.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s response was to hold an emergency meeting with the AG and other close advisors.  Sources said the AG shared the details of the replies by the army and ISI chiefs – and his analysis was that the content of the documents had been very carefully drafted and recommendations about “national interest” are very clear.

COAS puts trust in DG ISI’s judgment

Army chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, it seems, is relying on ISI chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha’s word.

According to a source, Kayani’s reply read as follows: “On October 24, DG ISI briefed me on the issue and his meeting with Mansoor Ijaz in London. In his opinion, sufficient material was available on the memo’s existence and that it had been passed to Admiral Mike Mullen.”

“He also opined that the evidence Mansoor Ijaz gave him was enough to establish that Mr Hussain Haqqani remained in touch with him from May 2011 onwards and exchanged numerous text messages and telephone calls. As per DG ISI’s assessment, the sequence of the text messages and telephone calls [between Ijaz and Haqqani] created a reasonable doubt regarding Haqqani’s association with the memo,” the reply went on to say, the source told The Express Tribune.

“There is nothing denying the fact that the memo exists and it is also admitted to have been delivered and received by the US authorities. Therefore, there may be a need to fully examine the facts and circumstances leading to the conception and issuance of the memo.”

Ijaz has his (long) say

The man responsible for breaking the Memogate story to the world, Mansoor Ijaz, offered to appear before the SC to present “physical evidence”, after filing his reply on Wednesday. A man known to like having his say, Ijaz’s reply is no less than 81 pages long.

A study of the document indicates that Ijaz took extraordinary interest in getting the memo through to Admiral Mike Mullen, as is evident from the number of calls he made to Haqqani and former US national security advisor General James Jones.

While Ijaz, as he has done since his initial Financial Times op-ed, happily sells Haqqani down the river, he is doubtful of President Zardari’s involvement. His reply reads: “It was entirely possible in my mind, given the adverse reaction Haqqani had shown me on the two telephone calls I had with him prior to this meeting, that Haqqani did not properly inform the government of Pakistan of his activities.”

A shadowy meeting at London hotel

In his reply, Ijaz details his meeting with General Pasha in London on October 22. The meeting, at which the ISI chief is supposed to have been convinced of Ijaz’s version of events, at times sounds like a scene from a spy thriller novel.

“We met … at the Park Lane Intercontinental Hotel, Room 210. We both agreed to take batteries out of our telephones while we spoke … He made clear he was in London with the consent of the army chief, Gen Kayani.

“…He asked questions, at times looked a bit astonished at what he was seeing but at no time did he offer any assessment of the data other than to indicate that the records were clear and convincing evidence.

“Intermittently during the data brief, I would open my computer or my Blackberry device and point out how the data was stored, transmitted, displayed, etc. He then carefully analysed dates, times, properties of Microsoft documents to see when the documents were created and how they fit into the timeline I was stating, looked at the original telephone bill logs, checked the time at which each BBM message was sent or received and reviewed my handwritten notes.”

More pin numbers, email addresses and other off-shoots of modern communications were examined. For the head of the ISI, the evidence was satisfactory. Where that now leaves the president, the government and the Supreme Court is a mystery even the best spy novelists might have trouble plotting.

Ijaz relays the email trail

Ijaz claimed that in a call made on May 9, 2011, Haqqani asked him to deliver a ‘verbal message’ to the Americans, preferably to Admiral Mullen. Ijaz called Haqqani the same day and said he had talked to General Jones, who had refused to convey any message to Admiral Mullen.

Ijaz said he drafted the memo on the basis of the handwritten notes he had taken when Haqqani first dictated points to him. Ijaz left a voicemail for Haqqani at his London hotel, asking him to call back for his response to his email containing the first draft of the memorandum.

He also, he claims, rang up General Jones, informing him that Haqqani would need to seek permission from the “requisite authority to let [the memo] go out” in writing. Ijaz informed Haqqani through Blackberry messenger that the memorandum was finally delivered to General Jones and that “it was now up to Admiral Mullen to decide how hard to push on General Kayani”.

Ijaz’s reply goes on to state he will reveal the names of two “key US persons” he contacted to convey the memo to Admiral Mullen, if the SC demands it.

(Read: The memo that opened the gates!)

Published in The Express Tribune, December 16th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (28)

  • Imran
    Dec 16, 2011 - 6:11AM

    What a country, where the state is so fragile, and the military is so weak that after looking at the BBM, Pasha became convinced of the terrible conspiracy against Army.


  • A. Khan
    Dec 16, 2011 - 6:18AM

    Whoever is advising Zardari is an idiot. He is being set up by the SC and Army and will be removed from office shortly. Whenever the government suddenly starts issuing statements that all is well, it makes be believe that all is not well and something is about to change.

    Even for a non partial observer, this government has been an utter failure. Boundless load shedding has added to people’s misery and impacted the GDP. Were it not for US aid, Pakistan would have been in dire straits. Now that military aid has been cut off, it will be siphoned off from civilian aid to meet the huge military expense.

    On another note, I am told but don’t have proof that this load shedding is completely artificial in order to sign agreements for rental power plants on extortionate basis. Instead of giving money to RPPs why not pay the oil bills of existing power companies so they start producing ? And guess which party was in power when the oil power plant contracts were awarded ?


  • F Khan
    Dec 16, 2011 - 6:35AM

    How can Parliament conduct an unbiased enquiry when the prime suspect may turn out to be someone who controls it? It is a clear conflict of interest and one cannot sit in judgment aginst oneself! In any case the procedures for parliamentary enquiries are limited in their scope and cannot possibly match the powers of the SC.


  • sam
    Dec 16, 2011 - 7:02AM

    For army fun time now after long war. for Americans divide and rule.


  • Yoda
    Dec 16, 2011 - 7:25AM

    It’s not that simple as that Imran. The ISI has advanced tracing techniques that have proven invaluable in nabbing high-level Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives. If those were indeed implemented after the meeting, then they can pretty much zero in on the person the exchange was taking place with. BBM isn’t a very secure technology, at least not for one of the most capable spy agencies in the world.


  • KR
    Dec 16, 2011 - 7:26AM

    President Asif Ali Zardari should reply Supreme Court and for once let the truth come out for once in timely manner and quit trying to hide behind curtain. For once stand up for what you have done and take responsibility, lead our nation by example.


  • Not me
    Dec 16, 2011 - 7:31AM

    There has to be a change.The country is being run down to a point of no return.


  • Max
    Dec 16, 2011 - 7:55AM

    I agree with you that Pakistani state is too fragile and that is the irony of this country. The leadership (civilian or military) fails to understand that crooked Rasputin is manipulative and destined to do the same what happened to Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra. My worry is that it will not be the Romanov dynasty that will fall but will lead to the dismemberment of the Pakistani state.


  • ahmad
    Dec 16, 2011 - 8:37AM

    “He then carefully analysed dates, times, properties of Microsoft documents to see when the documents were created and how they fit into the timeline”
    Very funny, the DG ISI did not know that when u copy a microsoft document from one place to another its date changes,moreover its very easy to change properties of these documents.Recommend

  • Lalai
    Dec 16, 2011 - 8:51AM

    It looks as if the mighty establishment and the extremely INDEPENDENT Supreme Court is trying to convict one man based on an UNSIGNED piece of paper along with some Black Berry messages and three US citizens. AWESOME! I think based on this, you can convict each and every member of the 7 billion human population.


  • dar
    Dec 16, 2011 - 9:01AM

    This govt has failed to deliver on any account, has absolutely no justification to carry on


  • Hamid
    Dec 16, 2011 - 9:46AM

    Time has come for the ruling class to seek really good one NRO.


  • Mirza
    Dec 16, 2011 - 10:26AM

    You said “The ISI has advanced tracing techniques that have proven invaluable in nabbing high-level Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives.”

    You are right. No wonder OBL was caught in an army base!


  • RizwanTKhan
    Dec 16, 2011 - 10:30AM

    France has just convicted its ex-President for mis-use of his powers. Thats called justice. Recommend

  • Paki-Australian
    Dec 16, 2011 - 11:33AM

    What’s there to hide? Govt conducting an inquiry into alleged mis-conduct of its own leaders, what good should we expect out of this?


  • Hamid
    Dec 16, 2011 - 11:52AM

    One can clearly see why this nation suffered. The political elite class and Establishment have no confidence in each other and went for assistance to other countries instead of their own people. This also clearly shows that Pakistan’s common people who have every stake have never ever been truly and transparently consulted and been left out far behind. The nation should revolt and stand behind person who have every stake in this country and leader will be created by the revolt itself.


  • Ahmed HM
    Dec 16, 2011 - 12:03PM


    Whats your grievance with the ISI?
    And was it you who verified that OBL is in an army base?


  • Khan
    Dec 16, 2011 - 12:29PM

    The only institution I am proud of the Supreme Court. Pro-Government critics should stop defaming it.


  • Optimist
    Dec 16, 2011 - 12:45PM

    excuse the poor translation from an URDU saying “lets see how long the MAMA goat can avoid the knife:)”


  • Alizai
    Dec 16, 2011 - 1:46PM

    @Mirza………You’re a bit too influenced by whatever comes out of the White Palace. Why didn’t you release some of the OBL pics in your digi camRecommend

  • Aamer Khawaja
    Dec 16, 2011 - 6:36PM


    Ah the typical Mirza, ignoring all and diverting the topic off track. When will people get the moral courage to strike down those they support when they do something wrong


  • Raj
    Dec 16, 2011 - 8:15PM

    How can the govt say, that no case to answer????
    Its obvious to anyone following this story that there are other elements and people at work , apart from HH, so why all of sudden there is no case to answer???
    Let SC be a judge of that !!! In meantime please forward your statements relating to the matter !!!!


  • Mirza
    Dec 16, 2011 - 10:51PM

    Constitution is a holy document that the army and SC has violated times and again. According to the constitution president has immunity from prosecution and courts. Anybody who is trying to erode that is working against constitution. I am not supporting a person but the constitution. This is a scheme to delegitimize the election results a year before the next. Why cannot these people wait for the next elections? All the writings of Mansoor Ijaz are against ISI and Pakistan, yet he is their only witness against the whole elected govt! Why are we not investigating the allegations against ISI committing treason? Friends of Democratic Pakistan Zindabad. Pakistan Paindabad!


  • Raj
    Dec 17, 2011 - 2:06AM

    Mirza, my good man ! Constitution has nver been Holy Document in Pakistan since its creation !!!
    I am rather surprised to see this comment from you!
    Name me a time when Constitution has been honoured and maintained in Pakistan, rather then its amendments and abuse as to the requirements ?????
    This at present is soley another requirement, as most of this MOB would never have been in the Office without changes !!!
    Get real plaese, this is Pakistan !! Not USA or UK where its more of Holt Grail !!!


  • Dr KH Mian
    Dec 17, 2011 - 4:54AM

    No President or politician is ever above the law. Perhaps in a lawless country like Pakistan with corrupt institutions (including Justice) and a corrupt and criminal President at helm all is possible like in some Rat (not Banana) Republic.


  • Khalid Rao
    Dec 17, 2011 - 4:55AM

    This leadership brought Pakistan to a stand still with their poor governance .Memo it looks a crafty game, country need a leader not a a photogenic PM with senseless arguments of his coalition majority, borrowing money from treasury and printing currency notes to spend lavishly.
    We need democracy for sure ,but not this cult.I think the best solution would be, the people should come out and honestly elect a proper leader.or go for controlled democracy.Another thing which is always there,the leader will never tell the truth to the people of Pakistan.


  • Prakash
    Dec 17, 2011 - 4:29PM

    If you had nothing to do with it, how long does it take to say so!


  • buttjee
    Dec 18, 2011 - 10:39PM

    @A. Khan:
    You are absolutely right.


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