LONDON: Mansoor Ijaz, the star Memogate witness, ended cross examination Sunday with the Attorney General of Pakistan Maulvi Anwar ul Haq and Chairman of the Memo Commission Justice Qazi Faez Isa asking the toughest questions to the witness yet since the start of the video-linked hearing from here in Pakistan High Commission building.
As the hearing ended here after 3 grueling days in London, both Mansoor and Haqqani came out together from the building and spoke normally to each other, unlike a day earlier when both openly traded gibes at each other, accusing each other of lying and exaggerating. Both of them thanked the mediamen for covering the hearing from London and agreed with each other that there was no need to make long statements to media in defence of their positions. Both of them appeared resigned to whatever decision the judicial commission will take in the end.
During the cross-examination, the American business tycoon was asked by Justice Isa was asked repeatedly in different forms about the possibility of a coup and whether in his opinion the American government did not have itself the intelligence resources to know whether a coup was being planned in Pakistan.
Ijaz pointed out that ground conditions could change rapidly, especially given the proximity of time to the date of the Abbottabad raid which killed Osama bin Laden and which, according to Mansoor Ijaz’s claim, led to the birth of the memorandum to Admiral Mike Mullen. Mansoor was also grilled on his style of freelance type diplomacy, why he got himself into the meme scandal itself, what was the reason that he lived in Monte Carlo and other questions of clarification.
Ijaz pointed out that the President Zardari government's efforts to “cover up” facts before the Supreme Court ordered the Commission to be formed went against his “personal ethos and value system”. Ijaz said he felt a need personally to determine the truth of why such a cover up was being orchestrated. He stressed that that he became more determined to bring out the truth of the memo matter.
Mansoor claimed that due to the memo scandal, his business affairs had been severely disrupted and he held Rehman Malik responsible for his “irresponsible public remarks”. He said the interior minister’s remarks were designed to disrupt his (Ijaz’s) relations with banks and other financial institutions that form the backbone of his business life.
Speaking briefly to this correspondent, Hussain Haqqani said that Mansoor Ijaz had acknowledged his (Haqqani’s) influence in the US administration and his ability to “work the system”. Haqqani said Ijaz’s admission proved there was no need for the Pakistani former ambassador to dictate memorandum to Admiral Mike Mullen.
Haqqani confirmed he will go to Pakistan for the next round of the memo investigation which is scheduled for 26th of March in Islamabad. Haqqani claimed that Mansoor Ijaz has issued one after another contradictory statements which have undone each other. “On the one hand he accepted that I was a loyal and trusted friend of Asif Ali Zardari and on the other he made a ridiculous claim that I wanted to replace President Asif Alli Zardari,” he said, adding that Ijaz has also accepted that he was not in contact with any Pakistani government official for the preparation of the so-called memorandum.
Earlier, Mansoor Ijaz said that false and malicious rumors were being spread with respect to his continuing retention of counsel, Akram Sheikh advocate.
He paid tribute to his lawyer. “Rarely in my 26 year business and professional career have I met a man -- and the extraordinary team he has assembled -- that is more dedicated to his profession, that is more knowledgeable about the law and has more vigorously defended the interests of not just his client, myself, but of the truth in this matter.”