ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has extended the Memogate commission’s deadline for two more months as Mansoor Ijaz failed to appear before the commission to record his statements, Express News reported on Monday.
The court was hearing an application filed by the judicial commission, which sought the extension of the deadline to complete the probe.
The court accepted the application and said that it was up to the commission whether it wants to go abroad to record Ijaz’s statements or call him to Pakistan.
During the hearing, Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq told the court that the government did not have any reservations on the extension of the term given to the Memogate commission.
The attorney general also said that Canadian company Research In Motion (RIM) which carries the BlackBerry records has denied handing over the data required. The company said that if the Pakistani government wishes to obtain the data then it should send an application through the Canadian High Commission.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, heading the nine-member bench, said that Ijaz’s letter had been received which he had requested be kept undisclosed. The chief justice added that the letter will be sent to the Registrar so that the information provided in it can be used at an appropriate time.
Former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani’s former counsel Asma Jehangir argued that everyone in the court was talking about Article 19 of the Constitution, but Ijaz’s letter, in contrast, was being kept a secret.
Jehangir also appealed against the extension of two-months given to the commission and requested that the court cut it down to one-month, but the court snubbed her request.
The Supreme Court had formed the judicial commission on December 30 last year and had given a four-week deadline to complete the investigations.
SC disposes off Haqqani’s travel ban
The court accepted Asma Jehangir’s request of allowing her client, Haqqani to travel abroad to visit his children.
The court disposed off the travel ban but imposed that whenever the Memogate commission or the court summons Haqqani, he will have to comply and come back to Pakistan within a period of four days.
“I am glad that the Supreme Court has restored my right to travel, which had been rescinded without any charges being filed against me,” Haqqani told Reuters after the decision.
“I will join my family in the US after discussions with the leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party.”
Haqqani had earlier filed an application requesting to allow him to travel abroad as he was barred from doing so owing to his alleged connection in the Memogate scandal.
Haqqani may travel to US soon
Husain Haqqani is expected to fly out of Pakistan early on January 31.
Express News on Monday reported that his initial destination is the UAE. However it is believed, that he may later join up with his family in the US.
US ‘gratified’ Pakistan lifts travel curbs on Haqqani
The United States said Monday it was “gratified” that Pakistan’s highest court had lifted travel curbs imposed on Husain Haqqani, the country’s scandal-hit former envoy to the United States.
“We are gratified that the government of Pakistan has lifted the travel ban on ambassador Haqqani — specifically the Supreme Court of Pakistan — and that he’s free to travel as he chooses,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
“And we continue to expect that Pakistan will resolve this situation and other internal issues in a transparent manner and upholding Pakistani laws and constitution,” Nuland told reporters.
Haqqani was forced to resign as ambassador to Washington over claims that he was involved in drafting a secret memo trying to enlist US help to curb the power of Pakistan’s military. He denies the accusations.
The Supreme Court had restricted his travel and ordered judges to investigate who was behind the memo, heightening frenzied speculation that President Asif Ali Zardari could be forced out of office.