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Memogate: Ijaz to record testimony from London

February 10, 2012 21:23 IST

Mansoor Ijaz, the star witness in Pakistan's memo scandal who has refused to travel to the country over security concerns, will record his testimony to a judicial panel via video-link from London on February 22.

The panel, which has been set up by the Supreme Court to investigate the scandal that has shaken Pakistan's politics, has permitted the Pakistan-American businessman to depose from the UK after his lawyer said his client was prepared to record his statement at the Pakistani mission in London.

The judicial commission set a February 22 date for Ijaz's testimony to be recorded from the Pakistani High Commission in the UK. While the commission's secretary will travel to London to supervise the video link, its lawyers will question Ijaz from Islamabad.

The development came a day after Ijaz skipped yet another hearing of the commission. This was the third occasion he had failed to appear before it.

The government will be responsible for making arrangements for recording Ijaz's statement at the High Commission at 2 pm on February 22, the order said. The arrangements should be put in place by February 20, it said.

Attorney General Anwar-ul-Haq, who represented the government at the hearing, expressed his reservations about recording Ijaz's statement via a video link.

He said it would not be possible to gauge Ijaz's body language and expressions over the video link.

The judicial commission's secretary will travel to London to supervise the video link while the panel's members and lawyers will question Ijaz from Islamabad.

The secretary will also collect all documentary and physical evidence regarding the memo from Ijaz.

Ijaz triggered a major crisis in political and diplomatic circles last year when he made public a mysterious memo that had sought US help to stave off a feared coup in Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden.

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