Memogate: Petition hearing begins tomorrow

Iftikhar Muhammad ChaudhryISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has constituted a nine-member larger bench to hear a constitutional petition filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, seeking a probe into the Memogate scandal.

The petition, which was admitted for regular hearing in the SC on Monday, will be heard on December 1 after PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif filed an application in the court early on Tuesday to request the CJP to expedite the hearing of this petition. In the application, Nawaz pointed out that since the filing of his petition, Pakistan’s sovereignty was blatantly violated again on November 26 when Nato attacked a Pakistani check-post along the Afghan border and killed 24 Pakistani troops.

The special bench includes the CJP himself, Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, Justice Tariq Parvez, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Amir Hani Muslim, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry.Identical petitions, filed by Watan Party, Advocate Tariq Asad and Senator Ishaq Dar, have also been clubbed with Nawaz’s petition and notices issued to the counsels of petitioners and the attorney-general of Pakistan.

Anyone found associated with the contentious memorandum should be charged with high treason, Nawaz said, questioning that if there really was no truth to Ijaz’s claims, why hadn’t a defamation suit been filed against The Financial Times newspaper which had broken the As Pakistan ratcheted up pressure on the US over the Nato strike, chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Maulana Samiul Haq filed a writ petition in the SC seeking the publication of all secret agreements between the Pakistani government, the US, Nato and Isaf.Haq has filed the petition under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution as chairman of the Pakistan Defence Council.

He has sought that the SC order the government to provide the agreements to the electronic and print media, including the one in which the government allowed the use of Shamsi Airbase to the US.In this petition, he has requested the court to restrain the government from allowing any space, area, land or territory to any other state’s armed forces for operating in Pakistan or any other country. If it is inevitable, he says, the parliament should formulate a policy for providing Pakistan’s territory for the purpose.

The petition names 13 respondents, including the president’s secretary, the prime minister’s principal secretary, foreign secretary, defence secretary, interior secretary, secretaries of all provincial governors and the chief secretaries of all provinces.Interestingly, Haq who was known as the ‘father of the Taliban’ during the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, met an American diplomat in Islamabad soon after moving the SC, sources told The Express Tribune. However, it is unclear what transpired in the meeting and a spokesman for Haq said he was not aware of any such meeting. – Thetribune