Islamabad: The judicial commission probing the memo scandal on Monday directed former Pakistani envoy to the US Husain Haqqani to appear before it on January 9.

The Supreme Court-appointed commission, which held its first meeting on Monday, directed the government to provide Haqqani "requisite security" for his appearance before the panel and an opportunity to engage a lawyer for the proceedings.

Haqqani had to quit over the alleged memo seeking American help to stave off a military coup in Pakistan after the covert raid in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden in May.

The commission further directed government officials to obtain records of all BlackBerry communications between Haqqani and Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, who created a storm in Pakistan's diplomatic and political circles by making the memo public.

The panel asked Attorney General Anwar-ul-Haq to contact Canadian firm Research In Motion (RIM) and BlackBerry representatives in Pakistan to obtain records of the communications, including BBMs, emails and other data.

The commission again issued notices to chief of Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence, Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, Ijaz, former US National Security Advisor James Jones and other respondents to appear before it.

Ijaz has claimed he drafted and delivered the memo on the instructions of Haqqani. He further claimed Haqqani was acting at the behest of President Asif Ali Zardari. Ijaz's claims have been denied by the government.

The Apex Court last week formed the three-judge commission to probe the memo issue within four weeks, adding to the pressure on the civilian government over the memo scandal. In another twist, Haqqani's counsel Asma Jahangir, one of
Pakistan's leading rights activist, on Sunday said she would not represent him as she had no confidence in the court-appointed panel. She alleged that the apex court was being influenced by the security establishment.

Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, who appeared before the commission on Monday, informed the panel that no departmental action had been taken against Haqqani.

Asked how many times Haqqani had met Ijaz, Bashir replied the Foreign Ministry has no records about the memo and Haqqani's appointments.

The panel asked Bashir to inform it at the next hearing about the former envoy's meetings and any procedure that is in place to check whether ambassadors are working according to the government's policy.

The head of the commission, Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Qazi Faez Issa, directed the Attorney General to send the notice for Ijaz to all his known addresses and by email.

The panel also directed the government to provide security to Ijaz when he comes to Pakistan. Issa remarked that everybody will be given full opportunity for cross-examination and the proceedings of the commission will be transparent.
The Commission directed Information Technology Ministry, Federal Investigation Agency and ISI to provide technical assistance for its probe.

It directed the Cabinet Secretary to expeditiously ensure that its orders were complied with by all persons.

Attorney General Haq later told reporters that his office would write to Research In Motion (RIM) on Monday to obtain the records of the BlackBerry communications.

He said the ISI chief is required to appear before the commission to provide evidence about the contacts between Ijaz and Haq. The commission's secretary, District and Sessions Judge Jawwad Abbas, told the media that the panel's proceedings would be kept open.

 

Pakistan seeks BlackBerry records

The Pakistani judicial commission probing the memo scandal directed government officials to obtain records of the BlackBerry communications between former envoy to the US Husain Haqqani and Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz.

The Supreme Court-appointed commission, which held its first meeting on Monday, asked Attorney General Anwar-ul-Haq to contact Canadian firm Research In Motion and BlackBerry representatives in Pakistan to obtain records of the communications between Haqqani and Ijaz.

(Agencies)