Memogate replies sent sans government approval

In yet another twist to the memo scandal, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday said the replies submitted to the Supreme Court by the chiefs of the Army and the ISI were “unconstitutional and illegal,” as they were sent without the government's approval.

The responses given by Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI Director-General Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha did not have the approval of the competent authority as required under the rules of business, said Mr. Gilani.

No summary or formal proposal seeking the approval of the competent authority for these two replies was initiated by the Defence Ministry, he said during an interview with People's Daily Online of China.

‘Unconstitutional

Any official action by a government functionary without the prior approval of the government is “unconstitutional and illegal,” he said.

Mr. Gilani pointed out that the Supreme Court Chief Justice had observed that any act of a government functionary without the government's nod is unconstitutional and, therefore, illegal.

The Prime Minister said that in both the memo controversy and the recent NATO air strike on Pakistani military border posts, the civil and military leadership of Pakistan had held detailed meetings and taken immediate decisions.

Referred to committee

Both issues were referred to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and the government had accepted the resignation of Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's former envoy to the U.S.

After the memo issue was referred to the parliamentary committee, the Supreme Court took suo motu action, he said.

Mr. Gilani described the memo as a “letter written by one American national to another American.”

The memo, made public by Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, sought the U.S. help to stave off a feared military coup after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May last.

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