ISLAMABAD, June 29: In a surprising development, particularly for those who believed the memo controversy was over, the Supreme Court issued on Friday notices to respondents in the case, including former ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani and US businessman of Pakistan origin Mansoor Ijaz.
A nine-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry will take up the case on July 12.
On June 12 the court had ordered Mr Haqqani to appear before it to respond to the findings of the Memo Commission that he was the architect of the memo which sought American help to avert a possible military coup in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s death in a US raid on his Abbottabad’s compound in May last year.
“Prima facie it seems that Mr Husain Haqqani, former ambassador of Pakistan in USA, has to answer about the findings so recorded by the commission”, the order said. The court had taken note of the fact that Mr Haqqani had been allowed to leave the country on his commitment that whenever the court required he would appear in person in four days.
The judicial commission was constituted by the Supreme Court to determine authenticity, origin and purpose of the memorandum seeking direct US intervention to avert a possible overthrow of the civilian apparatus by the military. In its report submitted to the court, the commission held that Mr Haqqani was the originator and architect of the memo sent to former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen.
The commission said it had been incontrovertibly established that the memorandum was authentic. Mr Haqqani sought American help; he also wanted to create a niche for himself to become indispensable to the Americans.
It said the purpose of the memorandum was to show that the civilian government was a friend of America, but needed to be strengthened to prevail upon the army and intelligence agencies. And to do so American help was required to set up a civilian national security team to be headed by nobody else but Haqqani himself.
The commission exonerated President Asif Ali Zardari and noted that it could not be established that an approval for such a memorandum had been given by him. It said Mr Ijaz had relied only on a statement by Mr Haqqani that he had obtained an approval from the president.