Commission will start proceedings in Islamabad on Monday

A judicial commission set up by Pakistan's Supreme Court to investigate the memo scandal has summoned ISI Chief Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha and the former envoy to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, to appear before it.

The three-member Commission, constituted by the apex court on Friday in response to a batch of petitions seeking a probe into the scandal, will start its proceedings in Islamabad on Monday.

The commission has summoned the ISI chief, Mr. Haqqani, Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz and the former U.S. National Security Adviser, James Jones, to appear before it to record their statements, media reports said on Sunday.

It could not immediately be ascertained when they had been asked to appear.

District and Sessions Judge Jawwad Abbas, Secretary of the Commission, on Saturday issued notices to other respondents in the memo case, including the Attorney-General, Foreign Secretary, Interior Secretary and Cabinet Secretary.

Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa is the head of the Commission, which has been given four weeks by the apex court to “ascertain the origin, authenticity and purpose” of the secret memo that had sought the U.S. help to stave off a possible military takeover in Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden.

The other members of the Commission are the Chief Justices of the Islamabad High Court and the Sindh High Court.

The panel's first meeting to be held on Monday will be introductory in nature and will examine documents produced in the apex court during the hearing of the memo case.

The commission has been asked by the apex court to obtain the services of advocates and experts in forensic science and cyber crimes.

A blow

The Supreme Court's decision to form the Commission came as a blow to the beleaguered Pakistan People's Party-led government, which had challenged the court's jurisdiction to hear the petitions seeking a probe into the memo scandal.

The government had contended that the probe into the memo issue should be left to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security.

However, the chiefs of the Army and the ISI had urged the court to order an independent inquiry, saying the memo had affected national security.

The PPP-led government was thrown into a crisis when Mr.Mansoor Ijaz first revealed details of the memo in an article written in the Financial Times on October 10.

Analysts have noted that the apex court had ensured that all members and support staff of the commission were drawn from the judiciary and said this was a move aimed at insulating the panel from possible interference by the government.

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