Mansoor Ijaz – File Photo

ISLAMABAD, Feb 20: Unannounced loadshedding and lack of coordination among the government departments have made the job to record statement of Mansoor Ijaz, the main character in memogate, through video link difficult.

Sources said the officers and technicians of Islamabad High Court (IHC), Cabinet Division, National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) and the private contractor on Monday encountered a number of problems during installation of equipment for videoconferencing and after a whole day laborious exercise decided to go for final rehearsal on Tuesday.

NTC for the purpose of videoconferencing hired private firm Mansha Brothers, as according to it, the firm was already providing similar services for jail trial at Mirpurkhas and Kot Lakhpat jail.

After installation of two, 42" plasmas, and other supporting equipment in IHC Room 1, the secretary commission Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan, sitting in Pakistani High Commission in London, started interacting with the senior IHC and cabinet division officers at about 4pm.

In the meantime, unannounced loadshedding disrupted the transmission and the system went off.

Later, the technicians connected UPS with the system and the officials asked Wapda to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply to the IHC from February 22 to February 24.

The access of NTC staff and the technicians of private contractors to the court premises and then to the room was not easy as they had to pass through a multi-layer security check.

The officials available at the site also revealed that lack of coordination among the cabinet division, NTC and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had also created problems for the technicians.

According to them, the PTA has so far granted permission to record the audio of the proceedings. With limited permission granted by the PTA, the technicians would not be able to record the video of the proceeding, they added.

However, they said they would request the PTA to allow the video-recording of the proceedings as well.

Zahid Hussain Bukhari, counsel of former ambassador Hussain Haqqani, told Dawn that video conferencing was not a proper medium for recording the statement of a star witness.

"I had foreseen these sorts of issues involved in videoconferencing and applied for UK visa but so far I am not sure that I will be attending the proceedings at Pakistan High Commission on February 22.

"If I can't reach High Commission in London and fail to cross-examine Mr Ijaz then another legal issue will arise," he added.

A senior IHC official said that it was their first experience for recording a statement through video conferencing therefore they were expecting some challenges as well.

He said the Cabinet Division was responsible for arrangements of videoconferencing while IHC administration was to play supervisory role.

The Cabinet Division director general, Junaid Akhtar, when asked about the arrangements of videoconferencing he replied that the cabinet division was responsible for logistic support to the commission while NTC was arranging the videoconferencing.

NTC chairman Wasi Shah when contacted said that the process was being run smoothly and he himself supervising the arrangements at IHC court Room 1.

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