–Bench headed by CJP disposes of Memogate implementation case, says court not responsible for former envoy’s extradition
–CJP wonders why state, army felt ‘threatened by a memo’
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday disposed of the case regarding the implementation of the Memogate scandal, ruling that it was the prerogative of the state to bring back former Pakistani envoy to the United States, Hussain Haqqani to the country.
The Memogate scandal erupted in 2011 when Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz claimed to have received an ‘anti-army’ memo from then ambassador Hussain Haqqani for the then-US joint chiefs chairman Admiral Mike Mullen. The memo had allegedly sought the Obama administration’s help to avert an alleged military takeover of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government in Pakistan.
The scandal, taken to the top court by then opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, led to Haqqani’s resignation.
The cases pertaining to the Memogate scandal were registered under Sections 120b (hatching a criminal conspiracy) and 121a (waging a war against Pakistan) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
As a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan heard the case, the court asserted that it was the state’s responsibility to extradite the former ambassador if it wanted to, and not the apex court’s.
Former premier Nawaz Sharif, Qaumi Watan Party, and several others were petitioners in the case, however, they chose not to appear. Justice Khosa inquired why the petitioners have not appeared for the hearing. If none of them are here, then why are we here, he remarked.
The additional attorney general interjected that the case has a lot of “sensitive issues”. At that, the chief justice observed that an ambassador had written a memo and questioned if the incumbent government felt any threat from that memo [written eight years ago].
He added that the court had formed a commission to probe the memo, and a first information report (FIR) was registered against Hussain Haqqani based upon its recommendations. Then, he asserted that the state could go after him if it wanted to prosecute him, but it wasn’t the top court’s concern at all and it is a wonder that it got involved in the first place.
“If someone has committed high treason, then the state should conduct an inquiry,” he remarked.
He pointed out that the matter had been brought in court when there were allegations of treason against the then government and ambassador and since they are no longer in power, the present government should proceed as it deems fit.
“If they cannot reach the suspect or do not want to then they should take measures,” Justice Khosa further said.
He questioned if the state, constitution and the Pakistan Army were “so weak” that they felt threatened by a memo. Asserting that “Pakistan is a strong nation and there is nothing to worry about”, the top judge wrapped up the case.