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SC receives host of affidavits, pleas

December 22, 2011

The Supreme Court building in Islamabad. —File photo

Frenetic activity was the order of the day in the Supreme Court on Thursday when a host of affidavits to petitions were filed in addition to a regular hearing of the memo case.

In a counter-affidavit pencilled in after his meeting with his counsel, former ambassador to US Husain Haqqani cast suspicions on the motive of Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz in starting the scandal with his newspaper article of Oct 10 and “the motivation of the entire exercise” that followed it.

The affidavit was filed to rebut the point of view taken by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

It would be “worthwhile to discover the investigation on the issue by the DG ISI, including investigation of other damaging articles written by him,” it said.

According to Mr Ijaz himself, “the so-called toppling of a democratic government was information that he passed on to me in an alleged Blackberry message and I ignored,” Mr Haqqani said.

However, “ready agreement” of Mr Ijaz, who was previously blatantly criticising the ISI, was highly suspicious and his condition of meeting the ISI chief had been equally mysterious, he alleged.

A record of this meeting and contacts would be crucial for any further investigation and to determine the motivation of this highly publicised controversy, Mr Haqqani said and denied that he had authored or authorised the controversial memorandum.

Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq submitted a page-long statement on behalf of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, assuring the court that his government believed in the supremacy of the Constitution and rule of law and would always stand firmly for the same.

The statement was filed in compliance with directives of the court that had demanded the government’s stand on a press conference addressed by PPP leader Babar Awan on Dec 1, allegedly ridiculing the judiciary.

The prime minister said he had the highest regards for the judiciary and had been striving throughout his political life for its independence.

“The first step performed by him as the prime minister was to order the release of the detained judges and to restore them,” the statement said.

The prime minister was of the view, the statement said, that at the press conference, the stance of the party had been expressed in a historical perspective and was not at all intended to ridicule the judiciary.

The federal government also submitted an affidavit on behalf of the interior ministry, almost repeating what it had earlier stated and pleading that it was essential that the Parliamentary Committee on National Security should proceed with the investigation into the matter and give its recommendations.

The reply has also mentioned a report titled ‘Pakistan’s Memogate: Was there ever going to be a coup?’, written by Omar Waraich, that appeared in the Daily Independent, the UK, on Dec 13.

“It is the firm belief and resolve of the present democratic government to safeguard, defend and protect national integrity and sovereignty on all fronts,” the affidavit said.

Mr Ijaz submitted a sworn affidavit acknowledging and agreeing with all the contentions raised by the ISI chief in his reply.

Former minister Azam Swati also filed a petition seeking a restraining order against the president and calling for putting his name on the Exit Control List till the case was decided. The petition expressed apprehension that the president might leave the country after the death anniversary of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

The petitioner also sought directives to register treason cases against the president, his Secretary General Salman Farooqui and Mr Haqqani if the ‘memogate’ scandal proved to be correct.