ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court extended on Thursday the term of a judicial commission probing the Memogate scandal for six weeks.
A 10-member larger bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, observed that the commission’s probe is one of high importance and should conclude soon.
The apex court was hearing a petition filed by former ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani’s counsel Asma Jehangir, which sought permission for Haqqani to record his statement via video link, as was done in the case of self-proclaimed whistle-blower in the memo case, Mansoor Ijaz.
However, in the absence of Asma Jehangir, the court did not examine Haqqani’s application seeking permission to record his statement via a video link.
The court also took exception over the late arrival of the attorney general in the courtroom. “This case is very important; three of our sitting chief justices of the high courts are engaged in this case,” the chief justice remarked.
Advocate Chaudhry Akhtar Ali, on behalf of Asma Jehangir, informed the court that she will be back by April 17 and requested the court to extend the deadline of the commission.
Akhtar Mengal, counsel for General (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch, withdrew the attention of the court towards some contemptuous contents of the case. But the court observed that the issue would be examined when Haqqani’s application is taken up.
While showing concern over Haqqani’s letter received by the Registrar of the Supreme Court on March 28 in which he had addressed the chief justice, the court asked Haqqani to adopt official means while sending any document instead of addressing judges of the court. The letter had sought confidentiality but some of its contents have already been published in the media, the chief justice said.
The chief justice announced that there is no review petition against the court’s earlier order, which stated that Haqqani would attend the commission’s proceedings on a four-day summon.
“The commission could issue a red warrant against Haqqani if he fails to appear before the commission on four days notice and it could also recommend delinquency on the part of Haqqani to the Supreme Court,” Mengal said, quoting from the court order. “I told the court that the commission’s work is almost done; so it should be asked to complete its task within one week,” he said.
In his application, Haqqani said he has grave security concerns because of many ‘frivolous’ and ‘sensational’ allegations leveled by Ijaz during the recording of his statements. He had said his family was fearful for his life in case he travelled to Pakistan.
Asma Jehangir will plead Haqqani’s case in the apex court. However, she had refused to argue his case before the commission.
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