SC directs Haqqani to must appear before it

ISLAMABAD: A nine member larger bench of the Supreme Court on Monday directed Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani to must appear before it to defend himself in the alleged memo controversy.

The bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Nasirul Mulk, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Justice Tariq Parvez, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed was hearing a case pertaining to implementation of its orders, in which Haqqani was directed to must appear before it.

The court directed the Interior Secretary to appear before it on next hearing and explain why Hussain Haqqani and his counsel had not been informed about the security measures to be taken for the former ambassador on his coming back to Pakistan. The court also sought explanation from the Interior Secretary about the action taken in response to Asma Jahangir’s December 31, 2013 letter to him about the threats to Hussain Haqqani’s life.

During the hearing, the chief justice noted that the court did not know about the threats posed to the life of Hussain Haqqani. Asma Jahangir, counsel for Hussain Haqqani told the court that her client was not a fugitive, however declined to come back to his homeland due to certain threats to his live by the militant groups.

The chief justice inquired as to what could be made out of it if someone did not appear before the court despite the repeated orders. He noted that coercive measures will have to be adopted to bring him back.

Asma Jahangir then said that her client was receiving life threats. To a court query, she said, “Do whatever you have to do. I cannot personally go abroad to bring him back”. She asked the court to direct the interior and foreign ministries to probe the threats being faced by her client. The chief justice observed that every Pakistani citizen was obligated to follow the directives issued by the country’s courts. Later the court adjourned further hearing till February 12.

The Supreme Court has provided several opportunities to Haqqani to appear before it and defend himself. However, he has refused to come back to Pakistan despite repeated court orders.

A Judicial Commission constituted by the Supreme Court had held that Hussain Haqqani was the originator and architect of the memorandum sent to former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen seeking US intervention to avert a possible overthrow of the civilian government by the military.

Haqqani was first named in the controversy by US businessman Mansoor Ijaz who had said that it was the former ambassador who had asked him Ijaz to deliver the memo to the then US military chief days after the May 2, 2011 US raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad.

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