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'If needed, Army can be called for Ijaz's security'

world Updated: Jan 21, 2012 18:45 IST

Promising fool-proof security to controversial American businessman Mansoor Ijaz when he arrives in Islamabad to testify before a judicial commission on the memo scandal, Pakistan interior minister Rehman Malik on Saturday said even the army can be called if needed.

His remarks came even as Ijaz's lawyer Akram Sheikh said he would ask his client to reconsider his plans to visit Pakistan if the government failed to deploy at least a battalion of soldiers to protect Ijaz.

Malik said the interior ministry will follow the directives of the Attorney General, the recommendations of the judicial commission and law of the land while providing protection to Ijaz.

Ijaz, who made public the alleged memo that triggered a storm in Pakistan's political circles, failed to make a scheduled appearance before the Supreme Court-appointed commission on Monday.

The panel has summoned him in person on January 24.

The Pakistani-American businessman was issued a visa by the Pakistani mission in London this week but doubts persist about his appearance before the commission that is investigating the alleged memo that sought US help to stave off a feared coup in Pakistan last year.

Malik made it clear that the ISI could not be involved in protecting Ijaz as it is "not a security force".

A meeting between the defence secretary, interior secretary and attorney general would to decide the security arrangements for Ijaz and the Attorney General would have the final say in the matter, he said while interacting with reporters in Islamabad Saturday afternoon.