ISLAMABAD: The Memogate commission, while getting a short order penned down on Friday, decided that Mansoor Ijaz’s statement will be recorded via video link from Pakistan High Commission in London.
The head of the commission, Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa of Balochistan High Court said Ijaz would go to the Pakistani High Commission to have his statement recorded.
“The commission has decided to record the statement of Ijaz through video link on February 22 at 2:00pm,” Ijaz's counsel Akram Sheikh told AFP.
“It is an important development in this case. The court has accepted my request. We want the people should know what the truth is,” Sheikh said.
The commission will carry out its proceedings in the Islamabad High Court while only the commission’s secretary will go to London in order to collect evidence, including BlackBerries, other devices and forensic material.
Lawyers in Islamabad will cross-examine the video conference.
Former ambassador Husain Haqqani’s counsel Zahid Bukhari strongly opposed the commission’s decision saying that it will create a prejudice if, in the future, his client is not allowed to have his statement recorded via video conferencing in America.
Justice Isa also said that if any lawyer wants to go to London on his own expense, then the court does not have any reservations on it.
Earlier today, the government of Pakistan wrote a letter to the BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) requesting for data from the handsets allegedly used by Mansoor Ijaz and former ambassador Husain Haqqani.
Bukhari told the commission that United States courts have registered four cases against Ijaz and said that he cannot enter the US which is why he keeps requesting the court to have his statement recorded in either London or Zurich.
Barrister Zafarullah said that Ijaz will “never appear before the commission,” adding that the commission should not go abroad in order to have his statement recorded.
He further said that the commission should concentrate on the secondary evidences – papers and documents submitted to the court – and base its verdict on it.
Currently, two applications have been presented before the commission. The first one by Ijaz’s counsel Akram Sheikh, requesting the commission to go abroad to record Ijaz’s statements, and the second one by Bukhari to abolish Ijaz’s right to record his statement as a witness in the case.
Bukhari said that this should be done because Ijaz has, time and again, refused to record his statement.
Justice Isa said that his statement could be recorded via video link as well.
Barrister Zafarullah and Sheikh were seen exchanging harsh words on the premises of IHC during the break, Express News reported.
Sheikh told Barrister Zafarullah that he “should talk like a barrister.” Reacting to Sheikh’s remark, Barrister Zafarullah said, “You [Sheikh] are not even a barrister and call yourself one. You lie about it.”
'Mansoor Ijaz is mocking the country'
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar has reacted sharply to allowing Ijaz to record a video statement.
“He is mocking the country and must not be given so much importance,” Mukhtar told reporters at the Lahore airport on Friday.
Supporting what he called was Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s silence on Memogate, he said that PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif had realised that Memogate is not based on facts and is simply a waste of time. “At the start of the issue, he [Nawaz] moved the court but once he learnt the facts of the case, he preferred to remain silent. He has done well by going to London instead of appearing before the [Memogate probe] commission again.”
Speaking on the contempt of court case against the prime minister, he said that if Gilani has announced that he will appear before the court, then he will definitely do so on February 13. “Jail is not something strange for the premier. He has served a five-year sentence already. If asked, he will again serve a sentence.”