Memo commission report
The three-member judicial commission tasked to find out the truth in the memo supposedly seeking American intervention to pre-empt a military coup in the sequel of get-Osama CIA raid has reported its findings to the Supreme Court. The commission has found the memo "authentic" and ex-ambassador Hussain Haqqani as its "originator and architect". And quite unreservedly it dubbed his action fitting the constitutional definition of high treason. Almost completely all the allegations imputed to him in the light of the memo, delivered to the then US military chief, Admiral Mike Mullen, have been upheld by the three-member high judicial commission. According to the commission's report the memo adequately suggests that Hussain Haqqani had attempted to undermine Pakistan's nuclear assets and integrity of the country's armed forces and its intelligence agencies, thus vindicating the standpoint of the Army Chief General Kayani and the then ISI chief Lieutenant General Pasha. As to the question whether Haqqani had acted on his own to swing in a niche for himself in the US administrative setup or at the behest of some others, the memo commission report is not silent, though less categorical. Asking how a man having "no obvious ties to Pakistan was appointed to the extremely sensitive position of Pakistan's ambassador to the USA", and what for he was handed a "largesse of two million dollars a year". So, at least on the face of it, it appears that the scope of apex court's hearing of the memo case is likely to be expanded to cover the holders of some high offices - a possibility that the memo case fallout may have consequences for the government and its top leadership. As expected, the reaction from ex-ambassador Haqqani is prompt and quite lethal, in that he dubbed the commission report as "one-sided and political". Equally vehement in expression is Mansoor Ijaz, the man who triggered the Memogate avalanche by making public the whole saga of the memorandum. That Mansoor Ijaz was extremely forthcoming and rendered his full cooperation to the commission, Hussain Haqqani, who was supposed to be making the best use of this forum to establish his innocence, was seen to be less than forthcoming. As against Mansoor Ijaz's regular attendance of the commission proceedings Haqqani was found to be evasive, then opted out of the forum announcing he was boycotting the proceedings. It remains an enigma as to why he felt insecure in his own country where the most secure residences as the Presidency and the Prime Minister House were available to him. That he bunked off his commitment made to the Supreme Court of reporting back from his foreign visit at the notice of four days, he had degraded his chance to establish his innocence. But Haqqani hasn't lost everything, in fact nothing at all so far; he still has all the opportunity to prove his case by returning home to plead his case before the country's highest judicial forum. The Memo commission was only a fact-finding arrangement, having no judicial powers. There is nothing in evidence, at any level to suggest that he would not get justice. That he was not heard by the commission is certainly a flawed assumption, for he was awaited all along but he abstained, offering one or the other excuse. But that is the past; both time and opportunity are on his side. He had promised to be available to the court on a four-day notice that is there. The nine-member bench will be meeting after about a fortnight offering him ample time to come, seek legal advice and talk to media, if he wants to. The ball is in Haqqani's court and we expect him to play. If he won't he would be a loser, not only in the court of law but also in the halls of public opinion.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2012