ISLAMABAD: The memo commission was approached from an unliklely quarter on Saturday when the wife of Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik submitted an application to become a party in the case.
Mushaal Malik said an allegation levelled by Mansoor Ijaz, the American businessman, that he had arranged a meeting between her husband and C. D. Sahay, a former Indian intelligence chief, had damaged his reputation.
Mr Ijaz, on his part, once again jolted the proceedings of the commission investigating the origin, authenticity and purpose of the controversial memorandum as he accused President Asif Ali Zardari of giving the go-ahead to the US president for the May 2 raid in Abbottabad without consulting the Army and the ISI.
In her petition, Yasin Malik’s wife requested the commission to provide her husband an opportunity to explain his position. She said since Mr Malik was at present in Srinagar, he could appear before the commission next month.
At this point, Mr Ijaz’s counsel, contrary to the stance taken by him earlier in the day, suggested to the commission to delete the portion of the testimony related to Mr Malik from the record.
He said acceptance of the application would open a new Pandora’s box because the commission would have to summon the former Indian intelligence chief and a reporter of a foreign newspaper as well.
Advocate Bokhari requested the commission to accept the plea. “Since Mr Malik claims having some evidence against Mr Ijaz, he will be useful for the inquiry.” The commission deferred the matter till Sunday.
SPOTLIGHT ON HAQQANI: Mansoor Ijaz claimed that former ambassador Husain Haqqani had created an atmosphere that had led US intelligence officials to penetrate into Pakistan which resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden.
When Mr Haqqani’s counsel Zahid Hussain Bokhari asked if he wanted confrontation among Pakistani institutions, he alleged that the actions of the former ambassador had resulted in confrontation between the Inter-Services Intelligence director general and the then Central Intelligence Agency chief Leon Panetta over the increasing numbers of US officials on ground in Pakistan whose presence enabled the American government to gather information about the location of Osama.
He alleged that President Zardari and Mr Haqqani had created the environment of conflict “for which I was blamed”. Mr Ijaz said President Zardari permitted US President Barak Obama for the raid without consulting the army and ISI and consequently the army got embarrassed and it created the confrontation.
Mr Haqqani’s counsel then requested the court not to bring on record the reply because he wanted to withdraw the question.
Advocate Akram Sheikh, counsel for Mr Ijaz, strongly opposed the deletion of the reply from the court record.
When asked he had been selected to deliver the memo, Mr Ijaz said Mr Haqqani was apprehensive of military and ISI people around him and wanted to hide the fact from them that a Pakistani would be behind a call asking army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez to stand down.
“Haqqani chose me because of my decade-long association with him and also because he knew that I had the capacity to deliver the memo and I was also a plausibly deniable channel for that communication because of my previous stance against the military establishment.”
Advocate Bokhari concluded the cross-examination earlier than the given time. He had informed the court on Thursday the he would conclude the cross-examination in seven days.
Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq will cross-examine Mr Ijaz on Sunday.