Govt in no mood to back down in memo case
ISLAMABAD: As far as its legal battles on the controversial memo are concerned the government appears to be in no mood to back down.
An affidavit submitted by the interior ministry to the Supreme Court, which provides detailed para-wise comments on the affidavits of the chief of the army staff (COAS), the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director general, American businessman Mansoor Ijaz and former ambassador Husain Haqqani, makes it clear that the government is sticking to its stand that the memo is no issue.
More importantly, the comments on the army chief’s statement ask why the COAS took a long time to bring the matter to the prime minister while the ISI DG has been asked to keep in mind whom he reports to.
The affidavits were moved in compliance with the direction of the apex court at the last hearing to submit statements to help the court to understand the contours of the controversy at hand and decide the matter.
Interior Secretary Khawaja Siddiq Akbar filed affidavits a day before a nine-judge Supreme Court bench is scheduled to resume hearing of the petitions of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif and others on the memo scandal.
In response to the reply of the army chief, the federal government in its affidavit conceded that the COAS had come to know about the details of the controversial memorandum through the ISI chief on October24, but questioned why it took him so long to report to the prime minister in a case where, according to him, time was of the essence.
Similarly, in reference to the reply of ISI DG, the government’s affidavit said the ISI chief was fully aware as to whom he is liable to report under the relevant laws and rules.
About the army chief’s declaration that the memo episode had an impact on national security, the government’s affidavit said that sacrifices rendered by the armed forces for security and securing the defence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan are unquestionable and unprecedented.
Similarly, the people of Pakistan and their democratically elected representatives also bore the brunt of every aggression equally, while children, women, students and common citizens, including former premier Benazir Bhutto, laid down their lives to defend their homeland fearlessly, the affidavit said.
Pakistan is a lucky country to have the eighth largest army of the world comprising brave men and women. Therefore, no-one can weaken the morale of Pakistan armed forces and certainly not a worthless memorandum, the affidavit stresses.
In the history of nations, difficult times like disasters, calamities, wars and battles come and go. The worthless piece of paper admittedly authored by an alien (Mansoor Ijaz) who has not made even a pretence about his allegiance and who admittedly has no credibility worth name, cannot bring down the morale of Pakistani people and their armed forces, the affidavit says.
About Hussain Haqqani, the affidavit says that in a letter to the president the former ambassador himself had offered to resign in national interest pending ascertainment of facts.
Subsequently, Mr Haqqani tendered his resignation which was accepted by the competent authority and duly notified.
The Parliamentary Committee on National Security, which was formed by the prime minister, has met on several occasions and the process of recording and collection of relevant records is in progress.
The federal government and the presidency, the affidavit says, have already denied the contents of the October 10 article in the London-based newspaper by Mansoor Ijaz.
It is the stance of the federal government, including the constitutional head of the state, the constitutional chief executive of the country or any other component that the government neither conceptualised nor initiated or in any manner had anything to do with the memorandum or the allegations or views expressed therein.
Therefore, the affidavit said, such effort was a non-issue from the point of view of the federation and the stance taken by the chief executive.
As the government has already categorically denied the baseless allegations of Mansoor Ijaz, therefore, his testimony is worth no credence.
About the reply of Mr Haqqani, the affidavit of the government said the preliminary objections taken by the former ambassador were legal and, therefore, did not need to be controverted.