The memo controversy, which has overshadowed all the issues facing the country right now, has taken another major turn after the petitions filed on the issue with the apex court were declared maintainable and a high-powered judicial commission was constituted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan to probe it within four-week time and furnish the report.

The nine-member bench of Supreme Court of Pakistan with voice-vote on Friday (Dec. 30) declared the petitions, mainly filed by PML-N President Mian Nawaz Sharif and his party leaders, on memo issue, maintainable and also constituted a three-member commission under the head of Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court Justice Qazi Fiaz Essa and Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman and Sindh High Court Chief Justice Justice Musheer Alam as members. District and Sessions Judge Islamabad would assist the commission as secretary.

The constitutional and legal experts were of the view that the terms of reference of the Judicial Commission was mandated to the examination of the forensic evidence of the BlackBerry messages allegedly exchanged between the former Pakistan Ambassador to US Hussain Haqqani and Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ejaz in the first half of May 2011.

The commission was also given powers to summon Hussain Haqqani, Mansoor Ejaz and the other associated people with the issue including DG ISI Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha to establish or otherwise, the links of Hussain Haqqani and some other people in country’s political hierarchy with the drafting of memo.

It is also not clear in what means and measures the commission would take to have the input from the American officials associated with the memo in one way or the other including General James Jones, Mike Mullen and Leon Panetta as their testimony would also be of great significance to reach at some logical conclusion of the memo saga.

It is yet not clear whether the only person so far summoned by the commission besides the local people associated with the controversy is former advisor to US on defence Gen. (retd) James Jones would appear in person before the commission or the commission would rely on his affidavit submitted with the apex court through his lawyer.

The legal and constitutional experts say that the taking up of the memo case in the apex court would open a Pandora’s Box and its fallout would be disastrous for many and it has the potential to rip through the foundations of many institutions and many a people at the helms of affairs could fall prey to it. The legal experts are of the view that before examination of the validity of the memo and its nitty-gritty, the Director General ISI Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha would become its apparent victim, as the matter of his going to United Kingdom, ostensibly, without the permission of Chief Executive of the country, who happens to be his boss, would come under review. Similarly, the issue of May 2, US attack in Abbottabad, which resulted in the killing of most wanted fugitive on the list of United States, Osama bin Laden and its related issues, whether the people at the helms of affairs were in knowledge of the US operation or not, and how the most wanted person was staying in a cantonment area and that too under the very nose of Pakistan Military Academy would also figure in the cross examination of the commission or later in the apex court to the disadvantage of many.

A few weeks back the beleaguered Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani came up with a wild allegations on the floor of the National Assembly giving between the lines message that if the memo matter was probed deep then the matter of Osama bin Laden’s stay in Abbottabad and his patrons would also come in limelight.

And on completion of the 20 days notice to government for implementation of the apex court verdict in NRO case, it has given the government last warning with the direction to the Secretary Law to come up with something concrete on writing of letter to Swiss Government on reopening of the corruption cases against President Zardari and others by January 10.

The legal and constitutional experts are of the view that the court would go to its extreme to get its order implemented in the case. If the government would try to take shelter of the Presidential immunity the court would most likely revoke it on a number of counts and on top of it being repugnant to the fundamental Islamic injunctions.

    The writer is Islamabad-based journalist and political analyst

    email: abid.gillani@gmail.com