Resurrection of 'memogate': Key developments so far

Resurrection of 'memogate': Key developments so far

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The memogate scandal — the origins of which date back to 2011 — was resurrected this year after Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar ordered the reopening of the case in February.

Here, we take a look at the key developments of the memogate scandal and the main players involved in the case.

Origin of the scandal

On October 10, 2011, Mansoor Ijaz wrote an article in the Financial Times in which he revealed that he had delivered a memorandum written by a Pakistani official posted in the US to Admiral Mike Mullen.

Mansoor Ijaz
Mansoor Ijaz

The memo was said to have been written just after Osama bin Laden’s (OBL) killing in Pakistan and had allegedly sought help from the US to rein in the country’s military and intelligence agencies.

The revelation created a frenzy of activity in Pakistan, bringing the role of the then ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani, into question. This led to Haqqani resigning from his position amidst chaos and allegations pertaining to him having drafted the controversial memo.

Nawaz Sharif, whose party was the main opposition party at the time, had then filed a petition in the apex court to investigate the scandal, which was dubbed as memogate from there on.

Main players

The investigation centred around the two individuals who were said to have been behind the writing and delivering of the memo, Mansoor Ijaz and Hussain Haqqani.

Hussain Haqqani
Hussain Haqqani

Though Ijaz was a businessman in the United States, he was said to have acted as a liaison between Pakistani and American officials.

Meanwhile, Haqqani was alleged to have written the memo wherein he pointed out the Pakistani military being in cahoots with extremist factions and asked for US help on the matter.

Investigations

The investigations took place over a course of six months during which both parties refused to appear before the court. Both of them provided their security being in peril as a reason for not appearing.

Mansoor Ijaz recorded his testimony from the Pakistani High Commission in London through a video link on February 22, 2012. On March 1, 2012, he stated that he had helped Haqqani by delivering the purported secret memorandum to the then US military chief because he had information about the possibility of a military coup in Pakistan.

During the cross-examination, Ijaz allegedly said he had been briefed by at least four intelligence networks of different countries after the killing of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 2, 2011.

He also claimed to have the transcripts of conversations between the Zardari-led President House and the General Headquarters (GHQ) on the OBL operation.

ISPR and the government denied Ijaz’s claims by iterating that there was no telephone conversation between the then President Asif Ali Zardari and COAS Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani on the night between May 1 and May 2 [2011].

Haqqani first denied Ijaz’s claim that he had been in contact with him through BlackBerry messenger during the events of May 9 to May 12, 2011, and on the issue related to the controversial memorandum. Then a few days later on March 21, 2012, he confessed to having a 16-minute telephonic conversation with Ijaz on May 9, 2011, in which they “discussed Ijaz’s anti-Pakistan stance”.

Read: From NRO to Memogate

During the proceedings at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on May 4, 2012, Zahid Bukhari, the counsel for Haqqani, told the commission that Ijaz had admitted to have written the memo.

However, on June 12, 2012, the memo commission’s report submitted in the Supreme Court stated that Haqqani was not loyal to the country and that the memo seeking US support was indeed real and authored by him.

Resurrection of the case

Six years later, the SC — now led by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar — formed a bench to resume the memogate case, issuing a notice to Hussain Haqqani on Feb 1, 2018.

Haqqani’s name had echoed in the apex court in January when a bench was hearing a set of petitions on the right of overseas Pakistanis to participate in the democratic process.

The hearing had prompted the chief justice to inquire about Haqqani’s whereabouts. “Why don’t we issue him [Haqqani] a notice and summon him to face the memogate case?”

In an attempt to get Haqqani to appear in court in Pakistan, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) approached Interpol on February 15 to issue red warrants for him. The court also issued arrest warrants for Haqqani and on March 13, 2018, FIA submitted a case against him in the SC.

On Wednesday, the apex court issued a 30-day deadline to the government to bring Haqqani to Pakistan — who has not appeared before the court since the inception of the scandal.

Source: News

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