Coming to Pak to tell a truth: Mansoor Ijaz

Washington: Controversial Pakistan-origin American businessman Mansoor Ijaz today announced he would be travelling to Pakistan to "tell the truth" to a Supreme Court appointed judicial commission probing the "memo scandal".

Ijaz`s statement to the media came after Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that there was no threat to him in the country and that he would be provided security during his stay. However, Ijaz did not reveal the exact date when he would be travelling to Pakistan. But at the same time, he attacked Pakistan`s former envoy to the US Husain Haqqani, alleging that the ex-diplomat has "orchestrated a media campaign" against him.

"Dream on Mr Haqqani. I am coming to Pakistan. And I am going to tell a truth which you will no longer be able to hide from. I will tell it with such clarity and vigor that you and your brilliant legal team will find no space to run from it," Ijaz said, adding that he would welcome cross examination.

"Haqqani has orchestrated a media campaign against me since his resignation in November designed to introduce doubts and exploit the complexities and nuances of this case that were entirely designed by him with, according to him, authority from his `boss`," Ijaz said in his reference to the controversial secret memo, which sought US help in getting rid of Pakistani Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani and the ISI Chief.

Ijaz claims that the memo was written by Haqqani on behalf of President Asif Ali Zardari. Haqqani, who resigned from his ambassadorship, denies that he had any role in drafting of the memo. "In doing so, he has failed miserably to dent the fundamental facts and corroborative evidence that I will put on the record in front of the Commission that demonstrate his originating role, his higher authority for doing so and his efforts to cover his tracks once the Memorandum was public knowledge," Ijaz said.

Ijaz alleged that Haqqani has furthermore orchestrated a political campaign in Washington to bolster his own credentials, bought and paid for by Pakistani taxpayer funds, that have only served to deepen suspicions about where his real loyalties lie.

"Having failed in any way to address the facts in front of the Commission, he and his lawyers now seek to attack my counsel as part of their overall strategy to deter and even alter the course of justice with stall tactics, intimidation schemes and political brinkmanship in the hopes that I will somehow be cowered down and not turn up to testify," he said.

The news report came amidst heightened tension between Iran and the US, as the Pentagon said that there is a red line whose violation it will not tolerate. "Iran is one of those areas that we are concerned about, and they do represent a threat. They sponsor efforts to support terrorism. They try to undermine governments in the Middle East, and obviously they continue to try to develop a nuclear capability," Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said.

"We got to make sure that we are ready for any situation that may develop there. And that means we have to keep all options on the table – all options on the table. And clearly there are those areas that for us are red lines. Number one, we cannot allow them to develop a nuclear weapon. That`s a red line. Number two, we cannot tolerate Iran blocking the Straits of Hormuz. And that`s a red line," Panetta said.

Meanwhile, top US lawmakers Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Congressman Howard Berman, Ranking Member of the Committee, called on the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to mark-up or send directly to the Senate Floor, sanctions bills passed by the House last December targeting Iran.

"As the Iranian regime ratchets up its threatening behavior, the US must act now to stop Iran before it achieves a nuclear breakout capability. A `sense of urgency` on Iran isn`t just a catch-phrase, it`s an imperative," Ros-Lehtinen said.