ISLAMABAD - Harping on his client’s “innocence”, former ambassador Hussain Haqqani’s counsel Zahid Bukhari has asked the commission probing the memo scandal to “focus on addressing the core issue”. “The commission must restrict itself to addressing the issue of origins, authenticity and purpose of the memo,” he said on Friday during the proceedings of panel. “The commission was created in environment of hostility towards Haqqani, generated by those who hate PPP government and President Zardari.  He said asking for details of secret funds, property and terms of employment of Haqqani was extraneous. Bukhari went on: “Mansoor Ijaz’s lawyer Akram Sheikh levelled many baseless allegations on my client as Ijaz and the memo party tried to prove that the memo was written at the behest of someone in Pakistani government. Since they failed, they have launched a campaign against Haqqani.” He said: “Mansoor Ijaz’s claims remain uncorroborated. There is no other witness. The so-called corroborative evidence in the form of emails and Blackberry messages cannot be accepted without forensics. There is no email or BBM message presented by Ijaz that shows Haqqani asked him to write the memo or deliver it.”“There is evidence that the memo was delivered by Mansoor Ijaz so it is authentic as his memo but no further authenticity is established. The language and ideas in the memo are similar to ideas expressed by Mansoor Ijaz in his articles.”As to the purpose of sending the memo, Mansoor Ijaz has been established as a publicity-seeker and sensationalist with a reputation as having “child-like vanity.” The purpose of the memo was to seek publicity for him, which he received. He even hired a high-publicity lawyer to represent him before Memo Commission although witnesses do not usually hire lawyers, only plaintiffs or accused do.Haqqani was put into an unenviable position by Mansoor Ijaz’s false claims. His patriotism was impugned on the basis of the claims of a foreign national who proudly says he has no links to Pakistan and his first loyalty is to the US. Haqqani did nothing wrong and was an asset for Pakistan as ambassador to the US.Bukhari argues that Mansoor Ijaz was unable to prove that he has any close relationship with the former envoy. He did not meet him except a handful of times by his own statement, did not see or talk to him between 2009 and 2011 and did not meet even while engaging in the entire memo exercise which he claims involved Haqqani. Also, Mansoor Ijaz admitted the two never met each other’s families. Thus, his claim that he wrote and delivered the memo out of friendship for Haqqani is not proved as he is unable even to prove that Haqqani was his friend. Mansoor Ijaz has only proved that he is a liar.“Mansoor Ijaz admitted on being questioned by the Commission that Haqqani had greater influence and access than him in Washington DC. As such, he €fails to establish any logical reason for Haqqani to use him to deliver any memo from him to people who are closer friends of Haqqani than of Mansoor Ijaz,” Haqqani’s counsel said adding that Haqqani never approached him for delivering a memo.  Also, it is a mistake to assume that everything published in foreign newspapers must be taken seriously. Now any individual can make a false claim against a senior official based on possession of evidence on a handset and then destroy his image or career without having to prove his allegation first.“After Haqqani waived his privacy rights, RIM said it did have the record of any communication between Mansoor Ijaz and Haqqani.”Bukhari requested the court that no negative inference should be drawn from Haqqani’s reluctance to return to Pakistan after leaving with permission of the Supreme Court. He added: “It is an unfair burden on Haqqani to demand that he spend money and risk his health and safety to come and refute something that has not been proved.”