SC seeks report over Hussain Haqqani’s return

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday directed the Interior and Foreign secretaries as well as the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) director general to furnish a report within a week on the return of former envoy to the US Hussain Haqqani to Pakistan.

A three-member SC bench, comprising Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, directed the officials who appeared before it on a short notice to also inform the court about what action could be taken for bringing Haqqani back to the country.

The court directed the government to inform it about the measures it had so far taken to bring back Hussain Haqqani, from the United States.

Appearing on notice, Additional Attorney General Rana Waqar told the court that it had earlier directed a former Interior secretary to bring back Haqqani and ensure his safety. However, nothing had been done by the Interior secretary.

Barrister Zafarullah Khan, one of the petitioners in the case, informed the court that Haqqani had reportedly said that he would not return to the country on the orders of the apex court. He said Haqqani frequently abused Pakistan and courts in his media interviews.

The chief justice then stated that the court would not react to the remarks of Haqqani about it. However, there will be no compromise on the matter of Memogate, which involved the country’s dignity. It will be pursued at all costs, he said.

Rana Waqar assured the court that he would informed the court about the measures taken by the departments concerned to implement the court orders. He said all out efforts would be made to bring him back. During the hearing, the court also inquired from the registrar why the hearing of the case was not held after 2013. The recent statement of Haqqani terming the Memogate proceedings a political stunt was also read out.

The court also dismissed a pending petition filed by Haqqani, seeking a review of the court’s earlier orders to bring him back and try under the law.

Earlier on January 29, 2018, the court while hearing a case pertaining to the right of vote to the overseas Pakistanis, had asked that where was former envoy to US Hussain Haqqani, adding that whether he would also get the right to vote.

“We should send him a notice to come back to Pakistan and face the Memogate case,” the chief justice had said and directed the Registrar’s Office to put up the file of Memogate case.

The Memogate scam came to light in 2011 when Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz claimed to have received an ‘anti-army’ memo from Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani for the then-US joint chiefs chairman Admiral Mike Mullen. The case was taken to the Supreme Court by then opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, which led to Haqqani’s resignation.

Published in Daily Times, February 9th 2018.