; ISI chiefs: Mansoor Ijaz testimony | Google Operating System News

Thursday, 23 February 2012

ISI chiefs: Mansoor Ijaz testimony

Islamabad:  Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz claims Pakistan's former envoy Husain Haqqani had acted on the directions of senior government leaders and had devised "bad boys" as code words for army and ISI chiefs. Ijaz made the remarks on Thursday, the second day of his deposition via videoconferencing from London before a Pakistani judicial commission probing the memo scandal which sparked a political crisis in the country.

However, Ijaz offered no information that was not already included in statements he had filed in Pakistan's Supreme Court.

Ijaz said in his testimony that the envoy wrote him a message referring to the Pakistani government as "friend". He also claimed that Ispahani, which is Haqqani's wife's second name, was the secret code for the Americans. He further claimed Haqqani had said the Pakistan government was willing to give the US access to the widows of Osama bin Laden after the Al Qaeda leader was killed in a raid by American forces at Abbottabad in May last year.

He also acknowledged that he had prepared the first draft of the alleged memo himself without taking the consent of Haqqani.

Ijaz is deposing from the Pakistan High Commission in London, while the three-judge commission appointed by the Supreme Court is conducting the proceedings from Islamabad.

Following a complaint from Haqqani's lawyer Zahid Bukhari about Ijaz's long-winded statements, the panel asked Ijaz to make brief comments.

The Pakistani-American businessman presented more documents to the commission and showed what he claimed were messages on his mobile phone and emails on his laptop that pertained to his communications with Haqqani.

Bukhari said these communications should be subjected to a forensic examination before he began his cross-examination of Ijaz.

Ijaz read out a purported BlackBerry conversation with Haqqani and told the commission he had sent a message to Haqqani on May 9 about forwarding a message to American officials.

Haqqani replied shortly thereafter in a message in which he talked about the Inter-Services Intelligence and army chiefs, Ijaz claimed.

The judicial commission also took up several applications filed by Bukhari, including one opposing the move to cross-examine Ijaz via a video link.

Bukhari said he should be given time to travel to London so that he could personally question Ijaz rather than via a video link.

Bukhari also sought copies of all the evidence provided by Ijaz.

However, this was opposed by Ijaz's lawyer Akram Sheikh, who said some of the evidence was "secret" and could not be shared with everyone.

During the proceedings, Ijaz claimed he was a Muslim and recited the 'kalma' as proof. He said he was doing this to clear any ambiguity raised about his religious background by Haqqani's counsel.

The media was barred from the room in the Pakistan High Commission in London where Ijaz delivered his testimony. Following a complaint from Haqqani's counsel about the media misreporting the proceedings, the commission directed reporters to show responsibility and not beam footage of the proceedings.

Ijaz made public the alleged memo in October last year. He has repeatedly claimed he drafted and delivered the memo on Haqqani's instructions.

The government and Haqqani have dismissed Ijaz's claims. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had recently criticised the handling of the memo issue by the army and ISI chiefs.

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