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Memogate: Pak SC resumes hearing

Islamabad: The Pakistan Supreme Court on Monday resumed hearing of the memo controversy involving President Asif Ali Zardari.

A nine-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had earlier issued notices to 20 people, including ex-Pakistani envoy to the US Husain Haqqani, involved in the case. Chief Justice Chaudhry said Haqqani should have attended the hearing as he was not granted exemption from appearing before the court, a news channel reported.

Haqqani's lawyer Asma Jahangir said her client would face serious threat to his life if he returns to Pakistan. She demanded security and guarantee his safe departure.

In reply, Chief Justice Chaudhry said the court never demanded his permanent stay in the country. Petitioners were instructed to submit replies and objections within five days. The memo row emerged after US based businessman Mansoor Ijaz wrote in a newspaper that President Zardari had written to the Obama administration to avert a military coup after the killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces in the country.

A judicial commission held Haqqani responsible for drafting the memo. Several petitions were filed in the Supreme Court, pleading to probe the matter. Consequently, a larger bench comprising nine judges was formed to hear the petitions.

(Agencies)

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