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US assured support to me during Pakistan visit: Ijaz

Source: PTI
January 21, 2012 14:15 IST
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Controversial Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz has said he had been assured by the US of its support during his upcoming visit to Pakistan to testify before a judicial panel probing the memo scandal.

"I had a conference call with the US State Department a couple of days ago. The US government will provide the support that they always do for US citizens," Ijaz told Geo News channel in an interview in London.

Ijaz, who was issued a visa by the Pakistani mission in London on Thursday, declined to say when he would travel to Islamabad and repeated his claim that he was receiving threats from Pakistani officials every day.

He did not offer any proof to back up his claims.

"They made their official position very clear and I made my reasons for going very clear. They understand it's a high-profile case and they understand I am a reasonably high-profile American citizen," he said.

"If, God forbid, anything goes wrong they (US administration) will certainly be there to help my family make sure that things got sorted out. I am absolutely confident that the American government will do the right thing if something went wrong," he said, without explaining what could go wrong.

Ijaz failed to make a scheduled appearance before a Supreme Court-appointed commission that is probing the memo scandal on Monday.

The panel then summoned him to appear before it on January 24. The controversial businessman created a storm in Pakistan's political circles last year when he made public an alleged memo that sought US help to prevent a feared coup in Pakistan.

He claimed then Pakistani envoy to the US, Husain Haqqani, has asked him to draft and deliver the memo to the former US military chief.

The Pakistan government and Haqqani have denied Ijaz's claims.

Ijaz told Geo News he had told Haqqani to stop "telling lies" about him (Ijaz) and he would stop telling "the truth" about Haqqani, but the former envoy did not "stop".

Ijaz appeared to distrust the Pakistan government's stand on providing him security.

"Part of the problem is that you have government officials that are threatening me on a daily basis. I find that a little bit strange, that from one corner of their mouth they are saying that I'm secure and at the same time they are threatening me too," he claimed.

He said he was more concerned about the security of his family and businesses. Ijaz praised the judicial commission for addressing his concerns.

He expressed appreciation for the Pakistan Army, which he said had agreed to "do certain things that they have not agreed to do for anybody else and I very much appreciate that".

Ijaz said there as an "absolute need" to put the record straight and "then let the course of justice take whatever course it wants to go".

He said he would take evidence with him to present to the commission. He added that he did not fear being stopped from leaving Pakistan through any means after his testimony.

In a related development, Ijaz has reportedly said that a Pakistani parliamentary committee which too is probing the memo issue cannot summon him because he is not a Pakistani citizen.

Ijaz said his legal adviser is reviewing a summons he had received from the Parliamentary Committee on National Security.

He claimed he was considering taking up the issue with the Supreme Court of Pakistan and that he was yet to decide whether he would appear before the parliamentary committee, which has summoned him on January 26.

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