Memogate: Phone data on RIM servers not stored longer than 3 months, says Mansoor Ijaz

|Express Tribune| 

ISLAMABAD: The little evidence that Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz could have produced, a record of messages allegedly exchanged between him and former Pakistan Ambassador to US Husain Haqqani could have already been deleted. Ijaz revealed this during his recorded testimony via video–link on Wednesday.

Ijaz claims that he received instructions from Haqqani via BlackBerry Messenger messages, SMS, and phone calls, to pen down and deliver a secret memo to the then Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen in early May.

Finally presenting his testimony, months after the Pakistani Supreme Court took up the case after he lifted the lid on the alleged memo in an op-ed in the Financial Times, Ijaz said that the BlackBerry smart phone manufacturer RIM, had told him that phone data is not maintained longer than three months on its servers.

RIM maintains servers for its BlackBerry Enterprise Services, which handle the encrypted messages exchanged between BlackBerry devices.

He, however, told the commission that he can submit the correspondence that took place between him and the company, regarding retrieving the data. Ijaz has already offered data which is stored on his BlackBerry handset as evidence.

Attorney-general of Pakistan also notified the commission that the Blackberry manufacturer has once again refused to provide data to Pakistan.

Code word ‘Bad-boy’ used for DG ISI, Army COAS

He also revealed the code words used for the various characters in the scandal.

He said that the code “Bad-boy” for the Director General Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) Lt. General Shuja Pasha and the Chief of Armed Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.

They also allegedly used the code “Boss” to denote President Asif Ali Zardari.

“Ispahani” was used to denote the American establishment, and “Golden Handle” for Admiral Mike Mullen.

Finally the testimony is recorded

Earlier, Mansoor Ijaz recorded his statement for the Memogate case at the Pakistan High Commission in London on Wednesday.

During the video link, Zahid Bukhari, counsel of former ambassador to US Husain Haqqani raised objections over the procedure of recording Ijaz’s testimony saying “this is not how testimonies are recorded”. He also said each word of Ijaz’s testimony should be written down.

Rebuffing Bukhari’s statement, the commission said that he should not interfere during the proceedings.

Bukhari alleged that while getting his statements recorded, Ijaz started “toying with his BlackBerry phone”. Justice Isa quipped, “You start fighting over everything.”

The commission told Ijaz to keep his phones on the table. Ijaz objected over Bukhari’s behaviour and said that his phones were already lying on the table.

Two big screens were installed in the Islamabad High Court to record Ijaz’s statements from the Pakistan High Commission in London via video link.

A three-member commission headed by Justice Qazi Faiz Isa recorded Ijaz’s testimony in Islamabad via video link.

Ijaz’s lawyer, Akram Sheikh and former ambassador to United States Hussain Haqqani’s lawyer, Zahid Bukhari, reached the Islamabad High Court.

Not being in front of the witness weakens my arguments, says Haqqani’s lawyer

While criticising the late arrival of his visa, Bukhari said that in today’s hearing of the Memogate case, he will ask the judicial commission to facilitate him as per his “legal right”.

Speaking to the media outside the Islamabad High Court, Bukhari said that the witness and the counsel should be face to face during a court’s proceedings because there are some “professional techniques” that needed to be followed.

“Your body language, your expressions and the way you put forth your arguments different when you are not in front of the witness,” said Haqqai’s lawyer.

Bukhari said that the commission has been facilitating Ijaz throughout the proceedings of the case. “I also request the court to provide me with appropriate facilities.”

He said that his visa came at a time when he could not be present in the Pakistan High Commission during Ijaz’s testimony and had he tried, he would have also missed out the commission’s proceedings in Islamabad.

The court has adjourned the hearing until February 22.

A copy of the statement given by Mansoor Ijaz at the Pakistan High Commission can be read here.

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