To no-one’s great surprise, we learned yesterday that Mansoor Ijaz, the crucial figure in the “memogate” saga, would not be coming to Pakistan to explain exactly who knew what. His lawyer said he feared for his safety. Mr Ijaz told me he feared for his evidence:
“It’s very simple, there’s an inherent conflict of interest for the security detail that’s arranged. The only evidence I have is on the Blackberries. What if they were confiscated when I arrived or just snatched out of my hand? Then the whole evidence process changes.”
He said he would have been happy to return if his safety was guaranteed by the military. But was upset when the Interior Ministry took responsibility instead.
One sure fire to try to stop Mr Ijaz coming was certainly to give responsibility for his safety to Rehman Malik, the man in charge of Benazir Bhutto’s security on the day she died, and part of the government that Mr Ijaz’s allegations could bring down.
In some ways the no-show suits both parties. Mr Ijaz’s evidence is looking less credible by the day and he now has a useful excuse not to come. And for a government facing multiple threats it neutralises one of the risks to its survival – for now.
But once again in Pakistan, we’re left wondering whether truth is the loser.