ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) today said the memo commission did not declare former ambassador to US Husain Haqqani a traitor and asked his counsel to file request seeking exemption from attending hearings, Geo News reported.
A nine-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Shakir Ullah Jan heard the case.
The judicial commission tasked with probing the Memogate scandal submitted its report to the apex court according to which Haqqani was found guilty of authoring the memorandum- the document delivered to US officials seeking assistance to overthrow the top military brass of the country.
During today's proceedings, the bench remarked that the commission had only expressed its opinion and not declared Haqqani a traitor.
Asma Jahangir, Husain Haqqani's lawyer, read out a letter from his client before the bench citing security reasons for not coming back to Pakistan.
"I will not risk my life until the circumstances that have put my life in jeopardy have changed," his letter stated, adding, "Given the current mood and environment in the country, where individuals are being burnt alive on unproved charges of blasphemy and ethnic, political and sectarian killings are going unnoticed, it is unreasonable to pressure me to return to the country to respond to political accusations based on the word of a foreigner."
"I have neither been charged or tried nor convicted of any crime under the laws of Pakistan and yet I have been painted as a criminal in the eyes of the general public." He said that the media had painted him "variously as a 'traitor', 'Pakistan's Benedict Arnold', and 'disloyal to the Pakistani state,'" insisting that these were extreme characterisations by people who disagreed with him politically.
"Imran Khan, Chairman Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), who also is currently leading the Adlia bachao tehrik' (Save the Judiciary Campaign) and claims to speak for Pakistan's establishment has publicly declared me a traitor," Haqqani wrote. "Another politician close to the establishment and one who also served as a minister in the previous government headed by the then army chief General Pervez Musharraf, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, has gone on national television to call me "Ghaddar ibne Ghaddar" (Traitor and the son of traitor) without being rebuked by any judicial or judicious authority."
Asma argued that the commission report had presented his client as if he was a traitor. On this, judges observed that this was just an opinion not a ruling.
Husain Haqqani is neither an accused nor a trial is being conducted, the court will rule after listening to all the parties, the bench said.
She said now the government is not providing security to Haqqani, the Attorney General and secretaries were contacted but no one responded.
Later, the court adjourned the hearing for indefinite period after giving three days to Asma for submitting exemption request and five days to all concerned on this application.