American businessman Mansoor Ijaz. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Tuesday assured the commission investigating the memo scandal that he would provide high-level security to US businessman Mansoor Ijaz and would not put his name on the Exit Control List (ECL), DawnNews reported.

Malik appeared before the commission here in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) building to explain his “controversial” statements pertaining to the scandal.

Chairman of the commission Justice Qazi Faez Issa had said that the interior minister was intervening in the commission’s affairs and had therefore summoned him to explain his position.

“The commission has ordered the interior minister to appear before the commission today and explain his statements about Mansoor Ijaz’s security,” attorney general Maulvi Anwarul Haq told reporters earlier today.

Malik told the commission that he never mentioned Ijaz’s name in his statements, putting blame on the media for misquoting him.

On this, the commission asked him why he didn’t issue a denial.

Malik told the commission that he was a busy person and did not have enough time to go through newspapers.

He informed the commission that he had directed his media co-coordinators to issue a denial.

He told the commission that box security had been ordered for Ijaz, adding that, the demand of two battalions of the army for security by Ijaz complicated the issue.

During the proceedings, the minister alleged that the American businessman had leveled charges against him and his family.

The commission had resumed its proceedings today after Ijaz had refused to come Pakistan due to reservations over his security.

Earlier during the proceedings, Justice Issa had inquired as to why Ijaz had not come to Pakistan.

Moreover, Justice Issa remarked that the commission had not issued any directive to dissociate the interior ministry from Ijaz’s security.

Explaining his client’s absence before the commission, Ijaz’s counsel, Akram Shaikh, said that his client was receiving threats from the government machinery. Shaikh said government’s representatives were issuing threatening statements against his client.

Moreover, in a written statement, Ijaz said his arrival could have led to a clash between Pakistan’s state institutions.

Meanwhile, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif supported the idea of recording Ijaz’s statement in either London or Zurich.

Zahid Bokhari, the counsel for Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, told journalists before the proceedings that Ijaz had insulted the commission by refusing to come to Pakistan to testify.

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