Ijaz asks CJ to guarantee his security

Islamabad: American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, the main accuser in the memo scandal, has said he is willing to come to Pakistan to testify on the issue if Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry provides an assurance about his security, according to a media report today.

Ijaz made the demand in an email written to the Chief Justice, Geo News channel reported.

Ijaz said the Chief Justice should give an assurance that he would be allowed to come to Pakistan on one flight, record his statement before a Supreme Court-appointed commission and then leave on the next flight out, the channel reported.

Ijaz reportedly fears that if he comes to Pakistan, he might be stuck in the country for a year and his business and family would be severely affected, the email said.

Ijaz further wrote that he was the one who had proposed the lifting of travel restrictions imposed by the apex court on Husain Haqqani, Pakistan`s former envoy to the US who was forced to quit after the memo issue became public.

The businessman said he had sought the easing of travel restrictions because "it shouldn`t be the case that one person was under restrictions while the other was free", the channel reported.

Ijaz further wrote that if the judicial commission was to record his statement abroad, then it was necessary for Haqqani to be present. Ijaz reiterated his claim that he had been receiving threats from Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

Earlier in the day, in an order issued to extend the tenure of the judicial commission investigating the memo issue, the Supreme Court said Ijaz had addressed a missive to the Chief Justice under the caption "secret letter".

The court said Ijaz had "disclosed certain information" in the letter "but we are not aware of its authenticity". The question of treating Ijaz`s letter as confidential or classified would be decided "according to law", the order said.

The court further said that "at this stage, we would not be considering this document for any purpose". The letter "would be kept in a sealed cover under lock by the Registrar" of the Supreme Court.

Ijaz has failed to make two scheduled appearances before the judicial commission, which has given him a final opportunity to come to Pakistan and record his statement on February 9.

A parliamentary panel that is also probing the memo issue has summoned Ijaz on February 10.