SC disposes of Memogate scandal case owing to petitioners absence

ISLAMABAD: On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Pakistan wrapped up a suo motu case pertaining to the implementation of the 2011 Memogate scandal.

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Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa, while heading a three member bench disposed of the case after none of the petitioners appeared before the court.

As the hearing went under way, Chief Justice Khosa inquired, “Why have none of the petitioners appeared for the hearing?”

“Is the state, Constitution, Pakistan Army and democracy so weak that they have been shaken by a memo?” Chief Justice Khosa questioned.

“Pakistan is a strong nation and a first information report (FIR) has been registered against Hussain Haqqani,” the top judge added. “If the state wants to bring back Haqqani then they should.”

Memogate scandal
The Memogate scandal erupted in 2011, when Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz claimed to have received an ‘anti-army’ memo from Haqqani, the then-Pakistan envoy in Washington DC, for then-US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Admiral Mike Mullen.

The memo sent by Haqqani allegedly mentioned a possible army coup in Pakistan following the US raid in Abbottabad to kill Osama bin Laden.

It also allegedly sought assistance from the US for the then-Pakistan Peoples Party government for ‘reigning in the military and intelligence agencies’.

In 2012, a judicial commission was tasked to probe the case, and it concluded that the memo was authentic and authored by the former envoy.

The commission said the purpose of the memo was to convince American officials that Pakistan’s civilian government was ‘pro-US’.

The scandal, taken to the Supreme Court by then-opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and several others, led to Haqqani’s resignation and subsequent exit from the country.

Resurrection of the case
On February 1, 2018 the Supreme Court constituted a three-member bench to resume hearing of the controversial Memogate case, and issued a notice to Hussain Haqqani the same day.

Later that month, the apex court issued arrest warrants for the former ambassador. In an attempt to get Haqqani to appear in the court, the Federal Investigation Agency was reported to have approached Interpol on February 15 to issue red warrants for him.

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