WASHINGTON DC: Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani reiterated that he never drafted or had any one draft a memo, nor did he deliver such a memo to Admiral Mike Mullen, adding that he was due to board a direct flight to Pakistan later on Friday evening. The ambassador was speaking on Express News via telephone from Washington.
“I do not have my itinerary in front of me, but I am scheduled to board a flight later tonight, I may adjust my flight due to reasons, but I will be returning to Pakistan,” Haqqani said.
The Ambassador, though did not deny that there was a memo delivered to Admiral Mullen. “I read the memo for the first time today, and I was not involved in this.” Adding, “Ijaz is a very rich, influential man, he has drafted the memo and managed to deliver it to Admiral Mullen.”
Of the phone conversation printed in a Pakistani newspaper, Haqqani said that the Pakistani press did not work on a principle of verifying facts and that no one knew that the conversations printed were between him and Ijaz or included conversations with other people but only attributed to Haqqani. The only verifiable element in the conversation was the date on which the ambassador was in London. “Yes I was in London on an official visit, however anyone could have given that information out” he maintained.
Haqqani repeated that he had stood for Pakistan and the army in the most difficult of times especially during the Kerry-Lugar bill and the Osama bin Laden raid “In the Abbottabad incident I defended the Pakistan army in front of the whole world,” adding that never had any agency in Pakistan raised questions about his character. “Pakistan intelligence agencies have never complained to me about my character.”
He added that he was a writer and a patriot. In the event that the President says that the country and democracy did no longer require Haqqani’s services, the envoy would return to Karachi and write for a living.
He also clarified his employment status saying that he had not tendered a resignation, only offered to resign as a proposed solution. Haqqani categorically denied that he had not written a letter to the President, nor had Zardari, with whom Haqqani continues to maintain a close relationship, spoken to him regarding this incident.
He added that he had a frank relationship with the army chief Gen Ashfaque Parvaiz Kayani, and the Chief of Armed Staff had not contacted the ambassador over the memo after the issue first surfaced in a Octorber op-ed.
In his defence, the ambassador said that there was a concerted campaign against him by people who did not like Haqqani in the post of the ambassador and were continuously working to undermine him. “There are people who want to keep themselves as the proponents of the national security of Pakistan,” adding that he had been given different labels in the past “the same people who are calling me a traitor today, earlier used to call me a stooge of the military.”
While maintaining that he would be in Pakistan before the week ended, Haqqani said that his flight was set, however he had had a health complication with high blood pressure.
Haqqani also eluded to possible threat against his life citing the incitement by media as was in the murder of Salmaan Taseer. “If the situation is made so as during Musharraf’s time, when I was forced to leave the country and come and work in America.”
Ambassador Haqqani leaving for Pakistan tonight
It was an event that was supposed to celebrate new writers in Pakistan, but all eyes remained focused on the staircase, keeping a watch for whether Ambassador Haqqani would show up.
He did, 45 minutes after and was greeted by the Pakistan Embassy’s Press Minister applauding while a writer was in the midst of her recital.
Speaking to reporters after the event (and after he told the press corps to respect his privacy after they followed him to the door, cameras and mics in tow), he said that he had seen Mansoor Ijaz’s new statement and once again issued a denial, saying he had no involvement in the matter. Ambassador Haqqani said that it was amusing that of all things, an American citizen who lives in Europe would be asked to send a message to Admiral Mullen. Referring to memo-gate, he refuted it as a conspiracy. He said that he had and will continue to have close ties with the President, and that the President would make the final decision on his offer to resign.
Ambassador Haqqani also reiterated that he had not drafted nor delivered a memo. He said that in Pakistan he was accused of having close ties with the US leadership, and if he did, why would he feel the need to use Mansoor Ijaz to send a message. He said that many in Pakistan were opposed to his appointment as ambassador.
Sources added that Ambassador Haqqani was scheduled to leave for Pakistan tonight (DC time). A souce told the The Express Tribune that Haqqani also had an appointment in DC with a doctor for high blood pressure and chest pains that he had been having since last night.