Mansoor Ijaz skips memo hearing, seeks time till Jan 25

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Islamabad, Jan 16: Controversial Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, a key figure in the raging memo row, on Monday sought time till January 25 to come before a judicial commission investigating the scandal, citing security threats.

Ijaz, who was scheduled to appear before the Supreme Court appointed commission on Monday, skipped the crucial hearing.

His move came amidst reports that Blackberry maker -Research in Motion - has refused to share details of the messages exchanged between him and former Pakistani envoy to US Husain Haqqani.

Shortly after the commission began its third sitting this morning, Ijaz's lawyer Akram Sheikh said his client wanted more time to come to Pakistan to appear before the panel.

Sheikh said Ijaz had been receiving threats and wanted to get insurance done for the safety of himself and his family.

He submitted an application seeking time till January 25 for Ijaz to appear before the three-judge commission.

The lawyer further said that Ijaz had made an appointment at the Pakistani Embassy at Berne in Switzerland on Monday to get a visa to travel to the country.

The members of the commission asked Sheikh to clarify once and for all whether Ijaz intended to come to Pakistan.

Meanwhile, in a related development, Haqqani's lawyer on Monday contended that Ijaz would not come to Pakistan and was setting all sorts of unnecessary conditions for his visit.

Haqqani was forced to resign after Ijaz made public a mysterious memo that had sought US help to stave off a feared military coup in Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May last year.

The envoy's lawyer, Zahid Bokhari, told reporters that Ijaz was setting frivolous conditions for coming to Pakistan even though the commission had already ordered authorities to deploy army soldiers to protect him when he arrived.

"We want him to be given all possible security so that he can come here to testify before the commission. We will welcome him but we will welcome him with reservations," Bokhari said.


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