'Memogate' ISI chief meets businessman Ijaz in London


ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha
Islamabad, Nov 20: ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha met Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz in London to verify his claims that he helped deliver to US administration a secret memorandum in which Pakistani government purportedly sought American help to stave off a possible military takeover, a media report said here today.

Due to the "sensitivity of the charges" levelled by Ijaz, including the alleged authorisation of the memo by President Asif Ali Zardari, the highest level of Pakistan's military leadership decided the initial investigation must be carried out by the ISI chief, 'The News' daily quoted its sources as saying.

Asked to confirm whether the official who met him on October 22 was Pasha, Ijaz told the newspaper: "Yes." Ijaz earlier said that the full data and evidence of his contacts with the Pakistani official who asked him to draft the memo has been given to Pakistani authorities.

This includes records of phone calls, SMS messages, Blackberry exchanges and emails.

The News reported that Ijaz met Pasha on October 22 in Park Lane Intercontinental Hotel in London.

The meeting lasted for over four hours and Ijaz was "exhaustively grilled over his claims", the report said. The material provided by Ijaz was "subsequently put through a verification process" and once Pasha was convinced about its authenticity, "he briefed the army chief (Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani) who ultimately discussed the matter in his one-on-one meeting with President Zardari on November 15".

Kayani "impressed upon the President the inevitable necessity" of the presence in the country of Pakistan's Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani to explain his alleged role in the controversy. 


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