As the Supreme Court's rejection of the Prime Minister's appeal sent Pakistan's political class and analysts into a spin came news of the judicial commission on ‘memogate' allowing Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz to record his statement via video link from London thereby reviving a matter that appeared to have eased just last week.
In what seemed like an action replay of the political turmoil of January, the two issues — the long drawn out stand-off between the government and the judiciary over the National Reconciliation Ordinance besides ‘memogate' — were again forcing the Pakistan People's Party-led dispensation at the federal level into a corner. All that was missing was last month's buzz of an imminent regime change primarily because the security establishment has fallen silent following efforts by the political leadership to mend fences.
With Mr. Ijaz being allowed to present his case via video link from the Pakistan High Commission in London, there is a general expectation that interest in the case would be whipped up again as the businessman's refusal to travel to Pakistan to testify had taken the wind out of the sails of those pursuing the matter.
Mr. Ijaz has been asked to present his case on February 22 for which the judicial commission's secretary will travel to London to make all the arrangements and collect evidence that the business claims to possess. He has alleged that the former Ambassador to the U.S., Hussain Haqqani, had got him to send a memo to the then U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, asking Washington to pre-empt a coup after the American raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on May 2 last year.
Though the Attorney-General expressed reservations about recording his testimony in such a fashion, the commission decided to exercise this option after the businessman failed to appear before it not once but thrice on the pretext that he would be killed if he were to come to Pakistan. Now that Mr. Ijaz has been allowed to testify overseas, Mr. Haqqani's lawyer has sought similar permission for his client who had been restrained from leaving the country for almost two months by the Supreme Court.