Haqqani retains counsel to consider defamation claims against Newsweek

Published: December 7, 2011

Haqqani defends his stance in controversy, strongly denies allegations, terms them as, “reckless, baseless and false.”

Former Pakistan ambassador to the United States (US) Husain Haqqani has retained Washington-based attorneys to investigate and consider pursuing defamation claims against American weekly news magazine, Newsweek.

Earlier on December 3, Newsweek had published an article written by Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz on the Daily Beast website, which had alleged that Haqqani had prior knowledge of a “stealth mission to eliminate [Osama] bin Laden that would violate Pakistan’s sovereignty” and of having a role in a memo written by the businessman.

Haqqani has retained Steven K Barentzen and R Kenly Webster to find out if Newsweek and Ijaz had made these statements with malicious intent or whether they acted with disregard for the truth, and if so, whether to pursue claims against them for the “damages these allegations have done” to Haqqani.

The former ambassador had earlier denied these allegations and termed them “reckless, baseless and false”. In a letter to the editor of Daily Beast/Newsweek, Haqqani had said

 In the strongest terms possible, I categorically reject as reckless, baseless and false the allegations levied against me by Mansoor Ijaz about prior knowledge of US plans for a raid in Abbottabad in violation of Pakistani sovereignty to eliminate Osama bin Laden as well as his earlier charges [of having a role in the memo Ijaz wrote].

US government officials – including President Barack Obama, US Ambassador Cameron Munter and others, have reiterated that the Government of Pakistan was not informed May 2 Abbottabad raid in advance.

A statement released by The White House had said

There is no truth to the reports that Ambassador Haqqani or President Zardari had advance knowledge of the May 2 Abbottabad operation.  As we’ve said repeatedly, given the sensitivity of the operation, to protect our operators we did not inform the Pakistani government, or any other government, in advance.

Reader Comments (10)

  • Muhammad Ahsan Khan
    Dec 7, 2011 - 7:16PM

    I have read the December 3, Newsweek article.

    I suspect that the heart trouble of Zardari is an excuse to get out of the Memogate for some time. The SC ‘Supreme Court’ will have to wait till he comes back.

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  • MarkH
    Dec 7, 2011 - 7:33PM

    Whether it is true of it isn’t, to at least get counsel and announce intent to use it for defamation would be the act of both an innocent person trying to clean their name up a bit and a guilty person wanting to look innocent.
    Unless Newsweek itself said the article was the absolute truth I find it hard to believe it’ll go anywhere outside of the media. Even then it’s sketchy.
    Our magazines make even more severe allegations towards our own presidents/politicians almost without exception and they actually claim the responsibility for it from the start, rather than it being a third party outside article like in this case. They don’t hold back and get kind of brutal about it on some topics as well sometimes.

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  • Mirza
    Dec 7, 2011 - 8:28PM

    HH is never coming back to Pakistan was the main lie. Then HH would never sue the paper if the story is wrong. Now even if he sues still the lies keep coming in. At least HH has refuted the allegations and is ready to sue the papers(s). The same Mansoor Ijaz wrote aboutthe ISI being a terrorist organization, did ISI refute the story? Or their chief Gen Pasha ran to meet MI let alone sue him? How blind and unfair rightwing hate mongers can be?

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  • AnisAqeel
    Dec 7, 2011 - 8:36PM

    I think there will be an apology and an undisclosed settlement with Mansoor Ijaz and the Newsweek on defamation suit.

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  • Saleem
    Dec 7, 2011 - 8:49PM

    Does this man denies messages being sent from his BlackBerry? May be he should sue BlackBerry as well for sending out malicious messages.

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  • Cautious
    Dec 7, 2011 - 9:17PM

    This is solely a public relations move. He knows he has no chance of proving malicious intent against Newsweek and he is obviously having a difficult time proving that Ijaz is lying. In this type of lawsuit the burden is on Haqqani not the accused.

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  • K. Salim Jahangir
    Dec 8, 2011 - 1:35AM

    Don’t commit another faux-pas by sending defamation notice to Newsweek .You are a loser & a goner anyway .

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  • Mirza
    Dec 8, 2011 - 3:06AM

    Was Mansoor Ijaz right about both HH and ISI being a terrorist organization? Either he was right or wrong, he cannot be both.

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  • asad khan
    Dec 10, 2011 - 10:03AM

    Regardless of the fact whether Mr.Haqqani knew or did’nt know the OBLmission,what the defenders of our borders were doing at that time?

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  • asad khan
    Dec 10, 2011 - 10:19AM

    The pakistan press did’nt now about the scandal and mr.Imran khan in his lahore speach mentioned about it.what was his sourse of information.

    What accounts for the huge rally--The rightwing elements?
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