Ijaz gets Pakistani visa; to travel on January 24

Controversial Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, who made public the mysterious memo that triggered a row between the government and the military, has been issued a visa so that he can travel to Islamabad to testify before a judicial commission investigating the issue.

Ijaz, who lives mainly in Europe, was issued a visa by the Pakistani Embassy at Berne in Switzerland and will travel to Pakistan on January 24 to appear before the Supreme Court-appointed commission, TV news channels reported today.

The reports said Ijaz would fly from London to Chaklala military airbase in Rawalpindi in a special aircraft on January 24.

There was no official word whatsoever on the development.Till recently, the Foreign Office had said that Ijaz had not applied for a visa at any Pakistani mission though instructions had been issued to clear his application speedily.

Ijaz failed to make a scheduled appearance before the judicial commission on Monday. Ijaz's lawyer Akram Sheikh had then claimed he had deferred his travel plans due to security concerns. The commission subsequently directed him to appear before it on January 24.

The Pakistani-American businessman created a storm in Pakistan's political and diplomatic circles after he claimed in October last year that he drafted and delivered a memo on the instructions of former Pakistani envoy to the US Husain Haqqani to then US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen.

The alleged memo sought US help to stave off a feared coup in Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden by American special forces in May last year.

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