ISLAMABAD: Justice Qazi Faez Isa-led three-member judicial commission, investigating the memo scandal, is likely to decide on Tuesday whether or not to go abroad to record the testimony of American businessman of Pakistani origin Mansoor Ijaz after he expressed dissatisfaction over security arrangements and is not coming to Pakistan.

Mustafa Ramday, advocate, who represents Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Nawaz Sharif in the memogate scandal, told that Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Chief Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha was another focal person in the case. "It has to be seen whether the spymaster appears before the commission and what does he say."

However, Ramday said Pasha's evidence was extremely important because he had informed the apex court about the existence of memo and its other elaborate related details.

In Tuesday's hearing, the lawyer said, it would be clear whether any party wants to cross-examine former Ambassador Husain Haqqani. But above all, he said, the commission will hear arguments on the application of Ijaz's counsel that his client could not come to Pakistan and the commission should take his testimony in London or Zurich.

Lawyers of Ijaz and Haqqani and Attorney General Maulvi Anwaarul Haq agree that the commission would take a decision in this connection after the businessman's refusal to come to Pakistan. The apex court order, which appointed the commission, noted that the judicial forum "shall be authorized to collect evidence within and outside Pakistan according to prevailing laws on the subject."

Meanwhile, the government, in the words of an official, is thrilled over three developments, which, he believed, have favoured it and damaged the memo scandal against it. The first action, the official said, was the snub of the Research in Motion (RIM), the Canadian manufacturers of the BlackBerry smart phone, to furnish to the commission the supposed data of communications between Ijaz and Haqqani.

He said the second development was Haqqani's disclosure to the judicial commission that his two BlackBerry sets have been "misplaced" and were beyond retrieval. The official said that the third act, which was most important, was Ijaz's final refusal to come to Pakistan to appear before the commission.

Haqqani's lawyer Zahid Bokhari said if the commission decided to go abroad for Ijaz's testimony, he would express his views after considering the grounds for such a decision and would appeal to the Supreme Court against it.

Lawyers said that Tuesday's proceedings of the commission would be extremely significant as these would determine its future course to collect the evidence. They said that the commission could decide to benefit from the 81-page BlackBerry record that Ijaz has already submitted to it, and conclude its report. But this record is still unverified, one of them said.

However, he said it was beyond doubt that the memo did exist because the person who drafted it, the person who acted as the conduit to deliver it to the final recipient and the person who received it have admitted their parts. The only question, the lawyer said, to be determined is whether Haqqani or somebody else from Pakistan is involved in its preparation.

In the light of its direction that the commission shall be authorized to collect evidence within and outside Pakistan according to prevailing laws on the subject, the judicial forum is allowed to even go abroad to bring together the evidence, which is very vital in view of Ijaz's change of mind. In its first order passed on December 1 in the memo case, the apex court held that if need be Tariq Khosa, who was then appointed as commission, may travel outside Pakistan for the purposes of collecting evidence as this court had permitted such practice in the case of Benazir Bhutto v. State (PLD 1999 SC 937).

However, in its subsequent ruling on December 30, the court's order that Haqqani was directed not to leave Pakistan without its permission was only kept intact. The last order said that the probe is called for to ascertain the origin, authenticity and purpose of creating and drafting of the memo for delivering it to Mike Mullen through James Logan Jones. The due process of law is the entitlement of all the stakeholders to ensure investigation into the matter in a transparent manner. The commission is exercising all the powers of judicial officers for the purpose of carrying out the given object and is free to avail services of advocates, experts of forensic science and cyber crimes.

Zahid Bokhari rejected any suggestion that Ijaz's testimony should be taken through videoconferencing facility and said it would not be acceptable. The job of the commission is only to collect evidence and report it to the apex court for the purpose of probe into the memo scandal. It will be determined in the light of the evidence so collected whether civil or criminal liability entails for those found responsible.