Phone data confirms Ijaz-Haqqani contacts: Isa

ISLAMABAD – Justice Qazi Faez Isa, who heads the memo commission, has said that telephone records submitted by US businessman confirm contacts between Mansoor Ijaz and Husain Haqqani.
As the judicial commission probing the memogate scandal resumed hearing on Thursday, it directed Haqqani’s lawyer to complete cross-questioning Ijaz by Sunday so the commission could finalise its findings in time.
Advocate Zahid Bokhari, counsel of former Pakistani Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, asked Mansoor Ijaz to reveal the names of intelligence agencies whose chiefs had told him (Mansoor) that Pakistan Army was mulling a coup.
“The question is not related to the case, therefore, I am sorry I won’t answer it,” Mansoor replied. However, he said he has been in touch with intelligence agencies of 29 countries but insisted he cannot disclose their names.
Ijaz had told the commission on March 2 that he delivered a memo to the former US military chief Admiral Mullen last year because the spy agencies of four countries had told him about the possibility of a military coup in Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden last year.
Zahid Bokhari, while cross-examining Ijaz, stated that the US businessman was always against Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities. Ijaz replied that he was against proliferation and not the nuclear programme. He said that though he had written an article alleging Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan of stealing nuclear secrets, he was not inherently against Pakistan’s nuclear programme.
Ijaz also revealed that he had arranged for a meeting between Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik and officials from the Indian spy agency RAW in a matter related to US security. Ijaz refused to provide details.
Bokhari requested the commission to seek Ijaz’s passport so it could be examined for entry and exit stamps and the Mansoor Ijaz was told to bring his passport on Friday.
According to a private TV channel, as the cross-examination was continuing, Husain Haqqani also arrived at the Pakistani High Commission in London and appeared before the memo commission via video link.
Haqqani has so far submitted his telephone records for the months of May, September, October and November 2011, but said he cannot locate his Blackberry handsets and therefore cannot provide them to the commission.
“Husain Haqqani has lost both his Blackberry sim card and handset; therefore, he cannot produce the complete data sought by the commission. However, he will fully cooperate with the commission,” Haqqani’s lawyer told the commission. Haqqani said that despite his earnest and sincere efforts, he had failed to locate his Blackberry handsets. He explained to the commission that any other contact with Mansoor Ijaz through BBM could therefore not be verified, denied or confirmed on account of the non-availability of the relevant data.
The commission confirmed the validity of phone bills provided by Ijaz and also opened a sealed envelope of the draft sent by the US businessman. Justice Qazi Faez Isa, who heads the commission, said that this was not a draft but a part of the information. He observed that the telephone records submitted to the commission confirmed contacts between Ijaz and Haqqani.
The commission adjourned proceedings until Friday noon. According to sources, Haqqani’s lawyer plan to impeach Mansoor Ijaz’s credibility, which has been widely questioned in US and international media.
Ijaz’s past publicly exposed incorrect statements such as those about his role in Sudan and his claim on Fox News that Osama bin Laden lived in Iran will certainly be part of the cross-examination.
Mansoor’s credibility has also been hurt by his unverified claims that General Kayani and President Zardari were in touch about the US raid in Abbottabad, something denied by the Presidency and ISPR. His claim about having received information from four different intelligence agencies also does not add to confidence about his testimony.
Although Mansoor Ijaz lives in Europe for several years, according to his own statements, he has still given only his US address to the commission. His critics find that suspicious and grounds for further inquiry into his role and functions.
Last week the New York Times wrote that “the theatrical scandal that gripped the political system just a few months ago appeared to be fizzling out… Although the scandal cost the job of Husain Haqqani, whom Mr Ijaz accused of complicity in the memo, it failed to produce the promised fireworks that would damage the government.”
“After initially refusing to travel to Pakistan to testify, citing security concerns, Mr Ijaz finally gave evidence via video link from London this week. But he failed to produce hard evidence to back up his earlier allegations,” the NYT report said.
The newspaper also poked fun at Mansoor Ijaz’s fresh allegations about President Zardari having prior knowledge of the American Special Forces raid in May that killed Osama bin Laden and claims that Zardari had urged Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani not to scramble F-16 fighter jets against American military helicopters after they were detected in Pakistani airspace.
“If proven, the claims would devastate Mr Zardari’s career, given the strength of anti-American feeling in Pakistan,” the US paper wrote. “Instead, they were received with a virtual national shrug.”
It was reported earlier that Ijaz had received messages from unknown numbers with death threats for his daughter. US police took his cell phone in order to trace the numbers from which the threats were sent, and launched an investigation into the matter. Haqqani’s legal team in a press release though dismissed the threats as ‘stories’.

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