Ijaz fails to appear before Pak commission on memo scandal

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Islamabad, Feb 9: American businessman Mansoor Ijaz today failed to avail a final opportunity to depose before a Pakistani judicial commission investigating the memo scandal, with his lawyer saying that he was prepared to record his statement at the Pakistani mission in London.

The Supreme Court-appointed commission observed that Ijaz had made a U-turn on the issue of coming to Pakistan to depose despite all sorts of assurances given by the government about his security.

During a hearing last month, the commission had given Ijaz a final opportunity to depose before it today about the 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 three-judge commission issued the direction after Ijaz failed to appear before the panel on two occasions. In messages sent through this lawyer Akram Sheikh, Ijaz had cited security concerns as his reason for not coming to Pakistan.

During today's hearing, Sheikh told the panel that Ijaz does not want to come to Pakistan but is ready to provide evidence about the memo and record his statement outside the country. After consulting Ijaz during a recess in the hearing, Sheikh informed the commission that Ijaz was prepared to record his statement at the Pakistan High Commission in London.

Sheikh further contended that the commission does not have the right to summon Ijaz, who is a US national and had voluntarily offered to appear before the panel.

PTI

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