Alongside the Pakistan Supreme Court's contempt notice to Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in a matter relating to corruption charges against President Asif Ali Zardari, a judicial panel probing “memogate” also held a hearing but ended inconclusively after a controversial businessman at the centre of the scandal failed to show up before it.

Mansoor Ijaz, an American-Pakistani businessman, had been summoned by the panel to explain his allegation that he was asked to carry a memo on behalf of the Pakistan government seeking the help of a top U.S. military official to avert a coup in the aftermath of the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

Blistering row

The allegation has resulted in a blistering row between the Pakistan Army and the four-year-old Pakistan People's Party (PPP) government, giving rise to rumours of a takeover by the military or an early demise of the government through judicial action.

Mr. Ijaz has asked for time until January 25 to appear before the panel.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee probing the same memo allegation asked the businessman to appear before it on January 26, also directing him, Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt. General Shuja Pasha and Pakistan's former envoy to the United States, Hussain Haqqani, to submit their statements to the committee on January 23.

The panel also asked the Attorney General to provide it details of the government's efforts to obtain details of BlackBerry communications between Mr. Ijaz and Mr. Haqqani from the Canadian firm, Research In Motion (RIM).

The businessman had alleged that it was at the behest of the former envoy that he took the memo to the U.S. military official.

RIM not to give data

RIM has, however, rejected Pakistan's request to provide the data of communications between the two men.

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