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Memo case: Pak SC sets up 9-member bench

Islamabad: The Pakistan Supreme Court today constituted a nine-judge bench to examine the report of a judicial commission that probed a mysterious memo seeking US help to stave off a feared military coup here after the killing of Osama bin Laden last year. The bench, to be headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, will begin its proceedings tomorrow.

The three-judge commission that probed the alleged memo recently submitted its report to the apex court. The report has not been made public. Pakistan`s Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, was forced to resign after controversial Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz made the memo public last year. The government has dismissed Ijaz`s claims that he drafted and delivered the memo to the US military chief on the instructions of Haqqani.

During the commission`s hearing, Ijaz was allowed to depose via video conferencing from London after he refused to come to Pakistan due to security concerns. Haqqani refused to attend the hearings after he was not allowed to depose from abroad. Ijaz failed to provide any substantial evidence to back up his claims. Information provided by him caused considerable embarrassment to the powerful Pakistani security establishment. Ijaz has also claimed that he had learnt that then ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha had allegedly visited Arab countries to seek support for a coup against the civilian government in Islamabad.

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