Memogate probe: Parliamentary panel summons Pasha and Haqqani

Published: December 30, 2011
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Rabbani says respondents expected to be called upon between January 1 to January 10, 2012. PHOTO: EXPRESS/AFP/FILE

Rabbani says respondents expected to be called upon between January 1 to January 10, 2012. PHOTO: EXPRESS/AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Parliamentary Committee on National Security – tasked by the government to investigate the Memogate scandal – summoned on Friday top spymaster Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha and former ambassador in Washington Husain Haqqani to explain their respective positions on the matter.

The 15-member panel also decided ‘in principle to invite’ Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, the so-called whistleblower on the scandal, which seems to have the military and the executive at loggerheads.

“All (three) will help us prepare consequential recommendations on the matter for parliament,” said the committee’s chairperson Senator Raza Rabbani. However, he would not say when the three would appear before the panel.

The multi-party, bicameral committee has also been assigned to review Pakistan’s terms of engagement with the United States following the November 26 deadly Nato air raid on Pakistani border posts in the Mohmand tribal agency.

“Primarily, we will finalise recommendations for Pakistan’s relations with the United States,” Senator Rabbani said.

The committee will finalise its 30-point recommendations on Tuesday and submit them to the prime minister, who will then put them before a joint session of both houses of parliament.

“The committee is likely to take up the Memogate issue after January 11,” said a member of the committee. “We have invited Mansoor (Ijaz) in line with his public statements that he is willing to appear before Pakistan’s parliament and Supreme Court to assist them on the issue.”

The foreign secretary will send the invitation to Ijaz through the proper channel. “It will be the first of its kind case where a foreigner will be recording his statement before the parliamentary committee,” added the lawmaker.

Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha and Husain Haqqani will appear before the committee sometime in the first half of January. “We will send our recommendations to parliament in February, next year,” he said.

In an informal chat with reporters, Defence Secretary Lt Gen (Retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi said that he hasn’t received any show-cause notice from the Prime Minister Secretariat. “I have already explained my position by submitting defence ministry’s reply to the Supreme Court,” he added.

Lodhi had invited the wrath of the government when he told the apex court earlier this month that the government did not have ‘operational control over the armed forces’ of the country.

The defence secretary also briefed the meeting on the steps taken by the government to ‘tackle the Memogate scandal amicably.’

Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2011.

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