The ‘memogate' scandal reached the Supreme Court on Thursday with the former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, seeking its intervention in ensuring a speedy probe into the controversy that put a strain on the civil-military relationship last month.
Admitting Mr. Sharif's petition, the Apex Court ordered a time-bound probe and sought responses from President Asif Ali Zardari, Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI Director-General Shuja Pasha within 15 days. Pakistani-American businessman, who accused the former Ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, of drafting the memo which sought U.S. intervention in pre-empting a coup after the Abbottabad raid, has also been asked to respond.
The probe commission — to be headed by former head of the Federal Investigation Agency — has been set a three-week deadline by the Court and the relevant departments of the government told to ensure that Mr. Haqqani does not leave the country.
He later tweeted that “I did not return to Pakistan to leave without an investigation'' adding that the reason he resigned was because no one can represent his country in the middle of a media trial.
Later in the evening, the former Law Minister and Pakistan People's Party's lawyer, Babar Awan, pointed out that the Court had ordered the setting up of the commission without hearing the government.
“Once again history is repeating itself.''
Referring to the “judicial murder'' of the former Prime Minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Mr. Awan said: “PPP has never got justice and Punjab has always had its way in this country.''
He described Mr. Sharif's charge of treason against Mr. Zardari as ‘Act One' of the Bangladesh experience — an Agartala Conspiracy-like case when Pakistan accused Sheikh Mujibur Rehman of conspiring against the State with India's help.
To a question regarding the atmosphere within the court premises when Mr. Sharif arrived, Federal Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan shot back: “The protocol department of the Court set aside every procedure including the security drill for the VIP appearance in a VIP case.''