Panel gives ‘last chance’ to Haqqani

supreme court of pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Expressing its anger over Husain Haqqani’s defying the Supreme Court orders, the memogate commission gave him ‘last chance’ to appear before it.“(The) Commission directs Foreign Office to contact the former ambassador through its embassy in the US and ask the latter to appear before the commission on April 12.

Also, Haqqani’s Counsel should convey him commission’s order through email,” head of the judicial commission Qazi Faez Esa said during Friday’s proceedings.The panel ordered Haqqani to appear before it with his Blackberry sets and other documents. It proposed four options to bring Haqqani back to Pakistan – issuance of arrest warrants, registration of a criminal case, seizing Haqqani’s assets and initiating contempt of court proceedings against him.Former ISI DG Shuja Pasha’s lawyer SM Zafar advised the commission to summon Haqqani via the interior ministry though he agreed the commission could send him final notification if needed.

However, he refused there was any need to call Admiral Mike Mullen.New York based sources close to the former ambassador told TheNation on Friday that Husain Haqqani will most likely defy the commission’s orders on grounds that he has still not been heard by the Supreme Court where his application about giving evidence by videolink is still pending. Analysts say if the commission becomes aggressive and issues warrants for Haqqani, it would be similar to that of Benazir Bhutto’s case who was subjected to a Red Warrant for non-appearance for hearing in a case.“This will help the PPP’s political case that the courts are not impartial,” said one observer, adding, “Haqqani will not be arrested by the US government and he will be able to project himself as a victim and of being put in a similar position as that of late Benazir. When the original case becomes weak then only technical issues such as non-appearance are made the main issue.“

Haqqani’s camp says that the original allegations in the memo case have become insignificant and now the commission’s total focus was on Haqqani and forcing him to return to Pakistan.Mansoor Ijaz’s claims about the memo’s origins being higher than Haqqani have already evaporated, protecting President Zardari from any consequences and there is no serious evidence on record about Haqqani’s authorship or authorisation of the memo. The only issue now is whether the commission is justified in insisting that Haqqani return to Pakistan and whether his refusal to come convinces people about his supposed guilt. As the commission resumed its proceedings on Friday, Foreign Office, as directed on Thursday, produced the documents relating to correspondence between the Foreign Office in Pakistan and the Pakistan’s embassy in United States during tenure of Husain Haqqani as ambassador.

The commission scrutinised the record and stated that it make the record part of proceedings.The Foreign Office informed the panel that Haqqani visited London last year in May unofficially, without notifying the embassy there, when he was heading Pakistan’s diplomatic mission in Washington.During Friday’s proceedings Ijaz’ lawyer Akram Sheikh demanded the commission to seek details of the multi-million secret funds of Pakistan Consulate and its use by Husain Haqqani.

Haqqani’s counsel Zahid Bukhari snubbed Sheikh and termed his demand as unnecessary and irrelevant, however, the commission sought details from April to December 2011 from the Foreign Office.Meanwhile, Bukhari informed the commission that commission’s order seeking consent to waive privacy rights for accessing Blackberry data has been sent to Husain Haqqani. On April 5, the commission had directed Haqqani to give his consent to Blackberry Company, Research in Motion (RIM), regarding waiver of his privacy rights for retrieving data of his test messages and produce a copy of the letter before the commission on Friday.

The commission Thursday had also rejected Haqqani’s application for adjournment of commission hearing on the basis of his ill health and till the decision of another application pending in the Supreme Court. The former ambassador had filed an application in the SC seeking to record his statement abroad via videolink as it was done for Mansoor Ijaz. – Nation