The report of the judicial commission tasked to look into the claims of a Pakistani-American businessman who says he delivered a controversial memo to Admiral Mike Mullen is now out. In findings that could see Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, charged for treason, the commission’s report concludes that the former envoy was “not loyal” to Pakistan while serving as ambassador and that he sought to undermine the country’s nuclear assets, armed forces and intelligence agency. The three-member judicial commission’s report also says the memo seeking US support against a military coup was indeed real and authored by Haqqani and that through the memo, Haqqani had sought to convince the US to form a new security team of which he would be the head. The report also levels the charge that Haqqani has not accounted for US$2 million spent from a secret fund of the Pakistani Embassy in Washington. The commission had submitted the report to the SC in a sealed envelop on June 11, 2012, after which the chief justice constituted a nine-member bench, which opened and read out its content on Tuesday. The court has now directed Haqqani to appear before it at the next hearing, which will be held in two weeks. So far, Haqqani has only responded to the report on Twitter, tweeting that the panel’s findings “are political, not legal:” Haqqani’s counsel Asma Jahangir has also said that the memo commission was biased and had prepared a report without hearing Haqqani’s point of view.
It is unfortunate that Haqqani and his legal team, comprised as it is of some very eminent lawyers, is calling into question the integrity and honesty of a commission headed by Chief Justice Balochistan High Court Qazi Faez Isa and comprising the chief justices of the Sindh and Balochistan high courts also. Not only do the three judges in question have an impeccable record, they also have no ostensible political affiliations. Indeed, how can Haqqani call the commission’s proceedings biased when it was him who refused to even cooperate fully with the panel or hand over forensic evidence for examination, even going to the extent of using the ‘dog ate my homework’ argument? On the other hand, his accuser Mansoor Ijaz recorded his testimony from the office of the Pakistan High Commission in London via a video link and handed over all evidence to the commission’s secretary. Later, Haqqani’s lawyer even boycotted the proceedings of the commission accusing Justice Isa of being biased against his client. And while the commission had directed the foreign office secretary to brief it about the funds Haqqani had used during his tenure, this information was also never furnished. And yet, when the report has come out after painstaking efforts on the part of the three justices, Haqqani is crying foul. The court now has the report in hand and in the days to come, according to the CJ himself, a larger bench will be analysing and further determining the facts contained within it and on this basis possibly frame formal charges against Haqqani. All involved must cooperate with the SC as it engages in this exercise of determining facts once and for all and not drag the memo mess on any longer. Enough time has already been wasted in histrionics and prevarication. If the larger bench too finds Haqqani guilty, he must submit himself before the law of the land of his birth.