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Lawyer: Ijaz afraid to testify in Pakistan

Jan. 23, 2012 at 5:56 AM   |   Comments

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- The man at the center of a memo scandal allegedly involving the Pakistani government won't testify in Pakistan because of safety concerns, his lawyer said.

Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz had been expected to be in Pakistan Tuesday to testify but his lawyer, Akram Sheikh, said security assurances had not been given and voiced fears Ijaz would not be allowed to leave the country, Britain's Guardian reported.

"I congratulate the government of Pakistan, which has succeeded in obstructing justice," Sheikh said in Islamabad. "Mr. Mansoor Ijaz refuses to knowingly walk into the trap laid by the government."

Ijaz was prepared to testify instead in either London or Zurich, the lawyer said.

In the memo scandal, Ijaz reportedly had said Pakistani Ambassador Husain Haqqani, who has since resigned, asked him to deliver a memo to the U.S. military, seeking U.S. help to rein in the Pakistani military.

Haqqani has denied the accusation against him.

The Pakistani civilian government of President Asif Ali Zardari has denied any involvement in the memo but the scandal continues to rage in Pakistan, creating a major standoff between its powerful military and the Zardari government.

Ijaz had previously said he was prepared to testify about the memo in Pakistan despite threats he had been receiving, the Guardian reported.

The report said without the evidence of Ijaz the case against Haqqani would likely collapse..

Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said in Lahore Sunday the Interior Ministry would ensure security for Ijaz, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistani reported.

Gilani was quoted as saying Ijaz had a record of speaking against Pakistan and its government and had no credibility.

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