Commission a welcoming step
by Barrister Amjad Malik
Memo is a serious ‘conspiracy’ or ‘useless’ piece of paper is a futile debate now as the Supreme Court after hearing all sides have considered it a worth looking into matter in public interest. It has further set up a three member high powered commission comprising of three high court Chief justices to prepare a report on memo’s origin, authenticity and objective in four weeks is welcoming and a way forward in this scandal turmoil in Pakistan.
Haqqani’s lawyer has not helped much by showing distrust on the high powered commission in advance. In commission proceedings she is not required much as attendance is only with summons and those will be invited who are required to give evidence. Expert report on forensic if Haqqani and Mansoor remain loggerhead and deny existence of their BBM exchanges. Only then, forensic experts are commissioned on direction who prepares a report on BBM exchanges between 2-10 May 2011. A report (IBM) may further be sought from Blackberry Head quarters in Canada on exchanges if disagreements remain. After 4 weeks if ready, commission files report to SC on origin, authenticity and objective of memo where Asma Jehangir will be required to represent Haqqani’s interests and if she has not withdrawn from the proceedings she will attend and represent that part yet. Haqqani’s lawyer is not helping her client by declaring she does not trust that commission and that she knows the likely report. If she wants to deviate memo proceedings with that of contempt proceedings then it may be a case of Federal Govt. but not that of Hussain Haqqani. I think she could have helped her client better if her arguments for Haqqani were based on maintainability of petition than politics, that would serve the best interest of her client who lost one go at the earlier leg of supreme court only because she fought federation’s case that let parliament decide which is a legal issue as well as a matter of national security. Both sides are playing politics on Haqqani who is a main witness in this case either ‘star witnesses or ‘defence’ or as earlier it is settled the better for rule of law and democracy in Pakistan.
The memo standoff cannot be allowed to continue longer as it has the malicious sting to smite the weaker civilian rule prevalent in the country. Security establishment has taken a stand on ‘Memo gate’ and its terms offered to United States which are quite treasonous carry a national security element. Things are developing in Pakistan very fast which call for seriousness in approach especially at the hands of Govt and an independent probe in this issue. If Govt attempted to continue the same attitude which they offered in ‘NRO’ case then, they will be themselves to be blamed for that ‘apathy’. Their announcement insisting on parliamentary committee enquiry are frustrated by their actions, as no time framed meaningful enquiry had taken place so far, only a delaying tactics to prolong this scandal which is not the first of this govt.
I believe that the matter as sensitive as ‘Memo gate’ where some elements of the Govt may be an accomplice party requires an independent probe, either judicial and or parliamentary. History of Pakistani commissions though not promising but propriety dictates that let’s have it anyway. If the behaviour of certain executive to pervert the course of justice continues, SC using its inherent powers may have to take certain actions which will be disastrous for civilian superiority. If both sides are sincere in resolving the issue , the Govt must come forward with tangible steps , otherwise Court will keep ordering on it, and Govt continues declaring it a ‘non issue’, until someone steps in and stops it. But will this locking horn is a service to Pakistan, its people, and democracy.
Barrister Amjad Malik is a Chair of Association of Pakistani Lawyers (UK), a life member of the SCBA (Pakistan) and has studied LLM on national security law