ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan ambassador Hussain Haqqani is set to face a tough grilling session by the Abbottabad Commission today for allegedly issuing several hundred visas to Americans linked to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) ahead of the May 2nd raid to kill al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
The commission, investigating the circumstances surrounding the killing of the terror group’s leader, will also be questioning Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.
Awami National Party (ANP) President Asfandyar Wali Khan, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Hamid Khan and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI)’s Professor Khurshid Ahmed appeared before the panel last week.
The panel, already in possession of the written response from Haqqani on allegations levelled against him, would question him in person for the first time since he resigned in the wake of the memogate scandal.
Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Kingdom (UK) Wajid Shamsul Hassan is also set to appear before the commission soon for his interviews with media outlets in which he asserted that the authorities in Islamabad had prior knowledge of the Abbottabad raid.
Haqqani could not be reached for comments as to the possible reply he will put up before the panel. However, according to his latest postings on social networking website Twitter as well as some of his friends, Haqqani would share ‘definitive’ documentary evidence with the team to support his stance on the matter.
“He has got all the evidence with him and he will share it with the panel members…he has nothing to hide or fear about it at all,” confided one of his associates who is also the leader of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
He has denied issuing any visas to Americans without prior knowledge of the foreign ministry or a clearance from the country’s intelligence agencies.
On the other hand, AML chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told The Express Tribune that he would also share with the commission ‘hardcore evidence’, suggesting that Abbottabad raid happened with the ‘go-ahead’ signal from top authorities in Islamabad.
“It will be evidence that is hard to refute. It will remove any confusion and bring facts to the surface,” Sheikh stressed without giving any details about the source of material he shall hand over to the body.
Sheikh added that he shall give a verbal briefing in addition to the written evidence.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 19th, 2011.