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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistan government criticizes spy chief in memo case

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Dec 26, IRNA -- Pakistan Government on Monday criticized country’s spy chief in a case related to a memo allegedly written to former US army chief seeking US support to avert a military takeover, a media report said here Monday.

According to the statement filed by the government in the Supreme Court, Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Shuja Pasha had stepped up his jurisdiction when he briefed the army chief about his meeting with the American businessman Mansoor Ijaz in London.

Mansoor Ijaz had claimed that he was asked by former Pakistani ambassador to US Husain Haqqani to deliver the memo to Mike Mullen, the former US military chief, seeking US support to avert a military takeover following the killing of Osama bin Laden in May.

The Supreme Court has been hearing petitions filed by the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and others seeking an inquiry over leaked memo controversy.

Earlier Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had reaffirmed his commitment to democracy, but made it clear that the military would not back down from 'memogate' standoff with the government.

The nine-member bench, headed by the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had asked the federal government on December 19 to “accept or deny” the statements filed by Kayani, Pasha and others in the memo case.

The federal government in its reply said that the army chief did not immediately inform the prime minister of his meeting with the ISI chief on October 24th with regard to the details on the memo.

The government termed the memo as just a piece of paper which can not pose any threat to national security.

Both Kayani and Pasha have taken an entirely different position to that of the government before the court on Memogate. The generals insist that the memo is authentic and needs to be thoroughly investigated, while the government has termed it a conspiracy and urged the Supreme Court to dismiss petitions outright.

According to media reports in recent days, General Kayani has had a series of consultations with his top commanders to discuss the current tensions with the government, and possible options to deal with the situation if things go from bad to worse.

General Kayani and Lt. General Shuja Pasha are both working under extensions to their tenure, but under the constitution the prime minister does have the power to remove them anytime. The ISI chief’s extension expires in March next year while Kayani remains at the helm till November 2013.

However, legal experts are of the view that such a move on the part of the government is likely to be set aside by the SC, which is currently examining a petition seeking a judicial probe into the memo scandal.

Analysts say the memogate scandal is taking a new turn every day, perhaps at the behest of some powerful groups that don’t want a civilian set-up to continue and assert its powers as granted by the Constitution.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30733359

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