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Pakistan memogate: Witness seeks more time

Pakistani American businessman Mansoor Ijaz asked the commission to give him time till January 25 to testify.

Published: 16th January 2012 08:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:15 PM   |  A+A-

ISLAMABAD: The judicial commission appointed by the Pakistani Supreme Court to investigate memogate has begun its hearing. Pakistani American businessman Mansoor Ijaz has not shown up for his deposition and instead asked the memogate commission to give him time till January 25 to testify in the scandal.

His counsel on Monday claimed that Ijaz has been getting threat calls and wanted to get insurance done for the safety of himself and his family.

The memogate commission asked Ijaz's lawyer Akram Sheikh to explain clearly whether Ijaz intends to come to Pakistan after he claimed that Ijaz has applied at the Pakistani Embassy at Berne in Switzerland on Monday to get a visa to travel to the country. Ijaz was scheduled to appear before the commission on Monday which began its third sitting in the morning.

He was expected to hold President Zardari responsible for the memo allegedly seeking US help to avert a coup in Pakistan after the raid that killed Taliban chief Osama bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad on May 2, 2011.

Meanwhile, the lawyer of Pakistan's former envoy to the US Husain Haqqani claimed that Ijaz was avoiding the commission and had no intention of coming to Pakistan. The lawyer added that Ijaz was setting all unnecessary conditions for his visit to appear before the judicial commission investigating memogate.

Haqqani was forced to resign after Ijaz made public the memo.

The memogate has pit the Pakistani government directly against the the powerful Army.

Meanwhile, Canada-based Research In Motion (RIM), has refused to share all the data pertaining to memogate, citing privacy laws.

Amidst this confrontation, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is expected to win the vote of confidence in Parliament on Monday evening.

The Supreme Court has also adjourned hearing in the NRO case till 11 am on Monday. A 17-member bench of the Supreme Court will resume hearing of a case on reopening of corruption cases that were closed under the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), a graft amnesty issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 2007.

Last week, the judges had called Gilani a dishonest man for not having implemented the SC's orders on the NRO.

This week the court can order one of the six options that include disqualifying Gilani from Parliament, and hauling him and President Zardari for contempt.

Waiting in the wings are players like Imran Khan and former President General Pervez Musharraf, who ironically had created the NRO and squabbled with the Supreme Court over its implementation.

In the past one week, Pakistan's government has lurched from a standoff with the Army to one with the political opposition. Now, as it braces for a possibly harsh ruling from the Supreme Court, observers say it may choose to face the people instead, that is, calling for early elections.

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