ISLAMABAD, (SANA): Supreme Court of Pakistan has constituted three member Judicial commission to probe into memogate scandal within four weeks, meanwhile apex court announced that the petitions filed by Nawaz Sharif and others requesting a judicial inquiry into the memo scandal were maintainable.
A Nine-member Bench of SC headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry announced the verdict on Friday.
Moreover, the apex court ordered a judicial commission, based on high court Chief Justices to be formed to further investigate the issue. The commission will be headed by Chief Justice Balochistan High Court Justice Qazi Faiz Isa and will comprise of Chief Justice Sindh High Court Justice Masheer Alam and Chief Justice Islamabad High Court Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman.
District and Session Judge Jawad Abbas will as secretary of the commission. The Supreme Court also ordered the commission to complete the investigation in four weeks.
According to the decision, an earlier court order that restricts former Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani from leaving Pakistan without permission will also stay intact. The court has also decided that parliamentary can also hold the probe into the memo case.
Supreme Court says it will investigate the scandal surrounding an unsigned memo seeking Washington s help to rein in the powerful military, a decision that is bound to pile pressure on the weak civilian government.
The court has also said the memo case is a public matter and needed to be investigated. The court has also formed a commission headed by the Chief Justice Balochistan Qazi Faez Isa.
The chief justice began with terming the Objective Resolution as part of the Constitution. The President, prime minster and army have held many meetings in this regard, said the CJP.
The court has said that the Commission shall hold its meetings in the building of Islamabad High Court. The Commission shall be exercising all the powers of Judicial Officers for the purpose of carrying out the object mentioned hereinabove and it shall be free to avail services of advocates, experts of forensic science and cyber crimes. All the Federal Secretaries, including Interior Secretary, Secretary Cabinet, Secretary Foreign Affairs; Chief Secretaries of all the provinces; DG, FIA; Inspector Generals of Police of all the provinces and Ambassadors of Pakistan in USA and UK, shall provide necessary assistance to the Commission.
Government of Pakistan through Secretary Cabinet Division shall provide logistic support to the Commission, subject to its demands through the Secretary of the Commission.
The Commission shall be authorized to collect evidence within and outside Pakistan according to prevailing laws on the subject.
The Commission shall provide full opportunity of hearing to all the parties.
The Commission is required to complete this task within a period of four weeks after receipt hereof.
Cort has directed SC office to put a separate note in the Chambers of Chief Justice of Pakistan along with the transcription of the press-conference dated 1st December, 2011 of Mr. Babar Awan, Sr. ASC along with replies/reactions of the Prime Minister of Pakistan dated 23rd December and 26th December, 2011 for passing appropriate orders.
The further hearing of the petitions has adjourned for a date to be fixed by the office after receipt of the report from the Commission.
Earlier, during the Friday’s court proceedings began with the arguments of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Chief Mian Nawaz Sharif’s counsel Rasheed A. Rizvi, who said an air of hostility is unjustifiably being spawned against the petitions.
He said it is the apex court alone which can conduct memo probe in transparent manner.
Heading a nine-strong SC bench hearing the petitions to ascertain their maintainability, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry remarked the court is not declaring anyone responsible for it.
The CJ said the petitioner will have to make it clear as to which of his fundamental rights was hurt, adding the court not only will identify the hurt right, but also ensure preservation of that right.
Rizvi said his plea is not meant against any specific person, adding Federal Interior Minister Rehman A. Malik admitted the existence of exchange of messages between former ambassador of Pakistan to the US, Hussain Haqqani and Mansoor Ijaz.
The Interior Ministry has not as yet contradicted Malik’s assertion, he added.
Completing his arguments, the PML-N chief’s counsel contended the government committed criminal negligence by not opting for immediate investigations into the scandal.
Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja remarked it is imperative for the nation to know that who wrote the memorandum and why, adding the government proclaims it had no information over the issue; but, some pathway will have to be picked up to access the necessary details involving the memo.
The Chief Justice said the fact whether the state or an individual was responsible for the writing of memo, requires investigations.
The court declared in Sindh High Court (SHC) case that martial law runs counter to the citizen’s prestige, Rasheed A. Rizvi said.
Nawaz’s counsel said, “If martial law imposed by country’s own armed forces stands in stark conflict with prestige of a citizen, then, domination by some other country is a thing far beyond,” adding term ‘national security’ is not ambiguous.
Article-207 of the Constitution defines it, he added submitting the internal strives among the people does not under its purview.
Justice Saqib Nisar said the Article-9 does not mention national security; meanwhile, Justice Tassadduq Jilani remarked Article-5 notes the loyalty of citizens that is vital for national security.
Justice Aijaz Afzal observed Article-15 mentions individual’s esteem, questioning whether the right of a citizen could be ensured without ensuring national honor in the world.
“The measure feared to wound national prestige, stands opposed to a civitizen’s honor as well,’ Justice Aijaz remarked if the step to damage national honor is taken up by a foreigner, it should be investigated into.
Contradicting Asma Jahangir, the counsel of main figure in the case Hussain Haqqani’s Ishaq Dar said Hussain had earlier stated that he tendered resignation in accordance with directives given to him.
It means he did not resign of his own accord, he added criticizing the government, ‘The government is so serious that it called a meeting over the issue after 14 days.’
He said he submitted a requisition for the Senate session as the memo issue surfaced, stressing a letter to Chairman Parliamentary Committee was written on November 21.
Dar noted the December 2 session was adjourned over quorum basis without undertaking any proceedings, adding the session starting December 9 continued for 12 days but, memo scandal was not given thought.