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Haqqani's plea to depose via video link rejected by Pak SC panel

Islamabad: A judicial commission probing a mysterious memo that sought US help to stave off a military coup in Pakistan today rejected former envoy Husain Haqqani's plea to testify via video link from London.

The three-judge commission appointed by the Supreme Court adjourned the hearing till tomorrow after turning down Haqqani's request. The former Ambassador to the US, who is currently outside Pakistan, has filed an appeal in the apex court to be allowed to depose via a video link.

During the hearing, the commission asked Haqqani's counsel Zahid Bukhari why his client had not appeared before the panel despite being summoned today.

Bukhari said Haqqani faced a threat from intelligence agencies which have contacts with American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, the main accuser in the memo scandal.

AFP

Justice Faiz Eesa, who heads the commission, then remarked that Haqqani would not be safe in any part of world.

This was an apparent reference to Ijaz's earlier claim that he had contacts with 24 intelligence agencies around the world.

Bukhari said Haqqani had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court seeking relief in connection with the commission’s order to appear before it. Since Ijaz was allowed to depose via a video link from London, Haqqani should be given the same facility, Bukhari said.

The commission offered to provide complete security to Haqqani. "I wonder that he is willing to come to London from the US but not to Pakistan," Justice Eesa said.

Haqqani is a Pakistani citizen and bound to follow the law and the Constitution, he added. A Deputy Attorney General, who appeared before the commission, was questioned about the security arrangements put in place for Haqqani.
The law officer told the commission that arrangements had been finalised but the government had not been informed of any threats received by the former envoy.

The commission then rejected Haqqani's plea to depose via a video link and observed that he should appear before the panel. Haqqani was forced to resign last year after Ijaz made public the purported memo.

PTI