Memogate: Adamant ambassador set to face troika

Published: November 21, 2011
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ISLAMABAD: The embattled ambassador may take a breather – but not for very long.

Having purportedly ‘convinced’ the president of his alibi on the memo controversy, Pakistan’s ambassador to US Hussain Haqqani will now face the troika – the president, the prime minister, and the army chief.

In a meeting that is likely to take place within the next 48 hours, according to an official familiar with the development, Haqqani will face tough questions about his role in a memo, allegedly drafted by him for delivery via a middleman to former chairman US joint chiefs of staff Admiral Mike Mullen, asking for assistance to Pakistan’s civilian government to rein in the military establishment.

Haqqani pleads ‘not guilty’

The decision to convene the troika meeting, second in less than a week on the memo controversy, was taken after a meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and Haqqani on Sunday.

Haqqani, who arrived in the capital earlier in the day, had a marathon session with the President where he is believed to have pleaded not guilty.

Haqqani strongly denied his role in drafting the memo and offered to face any inquiry, a source close to the ambassador told The Express Tribune. He told the president he is ready to answer questions raised by the military, the source added.

“I heard that certain elements in the military are accusing me of working against Pakistan’s interests. I challenge them to say this on my face,” the source quoted Haqqani as telling the president.

‘Well thought out conspiracy’

Haqqani is said to have flushed in detail, what he termed was a ‘well-thought out conspiracy’ to implicate him in the memo controversy.

He questioned the role of the self-declared interlocutor and Pakistani-origin American businessman, Mansoor Ijaz, who claimed to have delivered the memo on behalf of Haqqani.

Ijaz is the same person who called for declaring the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) a terrorist organisation, Haqqani was quoted as telling the president.

A few days later, the same person then reportedly met the head of ISI Lt. General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, Haqqani reportedly added. “What does this indicate?” he was quoted as rhetorically asking the president.

Haqqani, sources added, also referred to a statement of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chief Imran Khan on October 30, where he was implicated in the scandal for the first time.

“I was summoned on November 15 … how could Imran know about it on October 30,” Haqqani was quoted as saying.

President ‘fully convinced’

After hearing his point of view, the President decided to convene the meeting of the troika where Haqqani would defend the allegations leveled against him, the source said, adding that the president was “fully convinced” with Haqqani’s alibi.

Sources also added that Haqqani, who was hesitant to return to Islamabad, flew back once he was believed to have been assured by the Presidency that they would stand by him.

When contacted, presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar refused to comment.

Ijaz continues to strike

Ijaz’s revelations, however, continued to pour in, and on Sunday he claimed that DG ISI had forensically tested the evidence connected to the controversial memo, and deemed it legitimate.

Speaking to Express News (in an interview with Maria Zulfiqar which will be aired today), Ijaz claimed to have met General Pasha in London and provided him the evidence regarding the controversial memo drafted allegedly by Haqqani, including telephone records. He said it was irrefutable evidence since it was in his phone and forensically tested by General Pasha.

And while earlier Ijaz had claimed that the memo was sent with the blessings of President Zardari, he ruled out any understanding between the president and Haqqani on Sunday, and said the president had no knowledge of any such document.

Ijaz claimed that President Zardari might have spoken to Haqqani after the Abbottabad raid about the pressure on him, and asked the latter to help him out in this regard, but would have left the mechanics to the ambassador.

Defence minister weighs in

Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar weighed in on Sunday and called Ijaz a ‘conspirator,’ adding that only Haqqani can clear the mystery regarding the memo controversy.

Addressing a press conference in Lahore, Mukhtar said it would take some time to determine who drafted the memo.

If Haqqani is involved in the scandal, then the prime minister will also be held accountable since the ambassador is part of the premier’s team, Mukhtar added.

The minister vowed that all details will be brought before the public, as soon as details unravel.

(Read: Memogate and matters of sovereignty)

Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2011.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • Babloo
    Nov 21, 2011 - 5:10AM

    I think president Zardari and Gilani , together with Haqanni and Mukhtar have to appear before the 10 corps commanders, who are the real rulers of Pakistan, and plead for leniency and mercy and tender unconditional apology.

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  • Nadir
    Nov 21, 2011 - 5:13AM

    Is it really the DG ISI’s job to jet across to London and meet a US national who accussed the ISI of being a terrorist organization in his FT Op-Ed? Isnt there terrorism to tackle or is that not as important as meeting up with a US national? Or do we hate Zardari so much that any oppourtunity to put him down a peg leads to hustle and bustle. Good to see tax payers money well spent by all sides.

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  • Ae watching
    Nov 21, 2011 - 5:49AM

    Haqqani is known anti PAK ARMY. Perhaps if you dig history he was twice rejected by ISSB for not making the lowest grade to Officer selection. This personal vindictiveness has been manifested by him over and over again. The memo was perhaps his absolute move to satisfy his quest. SHAMEFUL, DISGRACEFUL individual & worst part the present rulers are patronizing such traitors.

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  • Saad
    Nov 21, 2011 - 5:51AM

    More drama…..

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  • SYED
    Nov 21, 2011 - 5:57AM

    Does Mukhtar, the shoe salesman ,want to become the PM. I love the story. It is getting funnier and mukier by the day. Of course A Z wouldn’t have drafted the letter.He is only a High school graduate. But clearly the MEMO has been written on his behest,that is pretty obvious. It exactly reflects his thinking. Poor fellow wants to get away from the shadows of his COAS and the intelligence Chief. For them, though this is a 1974 moment.A Z should be forced to resign and hand over power to the Speaker as the constitution demands. By the way,I wonder,if there is a constitutional way to impeach him. CJ would be glad to oblige.

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  • Omair Shakil
    Nov 21, 2011 - 6:32AM

    The Defence Minister is a completely irrelevant character in this whole episode. I wonder how can he live with his useless-ness.

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  • OmarSharif
    Nov 21, 2011 - 7:11AM

    I have seen Mr. Haqqani defending Pakistan’s interests on American TV channels- he was brave and strong in defense, after May 2nd. Very difficult to see him working against his country.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Nov 21, 2011 - 8:07AM

    If top brass are proven wrong, would they also resign and charged or only civilians deserve humiliation and punishment.

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  • Not me
    Nov 21, 2011 - 8:21AM

    Have an Independent inquiry with report completed within 7 days.Let all evidence be put before it. Also see the reaction and statements coming out of USA during that period .Let justice be done and ensure Pakistan comes first

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  • Mirza
    Nov 21, 2011 - 8:32AM

    Why did we make HH Pakistani ambassador in the US? He is a professor in a US University and highly recognized in academic and political circles. Keeping up with the old traditions, we should have brought in a fake degree holder or metric pass general as Pakistani envoy in the US. Now that he has faced and tamed the reaction in the US against ISI after finding OBL in army base, the need for HH and other civilians diminished. For the establishment a well know CIA and US military confidant Manssor Ijaz is more useful, authentic and credible. Ijaz’s statements are on record in which he has demanded the US govt to declare ISI as terrorist organization. However, Gen Pasha ran to Ijaz for support material. Why would the ISI chief keep relations with somebody who is so much against them in the US? If the military is not reined in it would eat up the second half of Pakistan as well.

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  • Fundyar
    Nov 21, 2011 - 8:42AM

    Saw the ambassador words. I think he is not lieing!Recommend

  • SM
    Nov 21, 2011 - 9:37AM

    Perhaps taking Haqqani to the “Drawing Room” will make him talk to truth.

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  • AN
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:06AM

    What a messy country. When and who will look after the poor 180 million, if all the top leadership can do is squabble and have huge power struggles.now its clear to all, that the Army will never report to a civilian govt and always will be an assertive law of its ow. Good luck to a happless nation.

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  • Aristo
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:13AM

    Best wishes for HH and that he stays safe as he has landed into a jungle, where only the fittest and most powerful survives.

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  • Wellwisher
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:26AM

    Even if HH had done it (definitely he had not), he should be pardoned like Kayani and Pasha in the OBL episode.

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  • Pakistani
    Nov 21, 2011 - 12:15PM

    Just drama.

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  • Nov 21, 2011 - 12:39PM

    If friendship and business went together then Pakistan would be a ‘super state.’ SalamsRecommend

  • Beatle
    Nov 21, 2011 - 2:07PM

    Seems like some influential buddy in the power corridores of Islamabad is vigourously trying to occupy Pakistan house in Washington.

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  • FZ
    Nov 21, 2011 - 6:03PM

    why was HH ever in contact with MI anyway?

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Nov 21, 2011 - 6:57PM

    Who is Ijaz busnissman and why he delivering messanges and talking against the ISI why
    he doing who give him this power and why Pasha met him for???????Recommend

  • Mehvish Bukhari
    Nov 21, 2011 - 10:44PM

    Having watched on the local TV screens and read almost all statements of Mansoor Ijaz in the local print media, I am of the opinion that Mansoor Ijaz wants the President Asif Ali Zardari should fir Ambassador Haqqani from the job. Does Mansoor Ijaz himself want to be nominated as Pakistan’s Ambassador in US, or he wants the present civilian setup to be disturbed through a military coup and possibly paving the way for General Musharraf to take over and form an interim government to rule the country. The memo controversy has started after the visit of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Islamabad and a push from the US Administration to Government of Pakistan to wage a war against the Haqqani net work in Pakistan. The question arises: why Mansoor Ijaz wants to be in limelight of Pakistani media? Why he is pursuing the memo case so rigorously? He seems to have ulterior motives against the present civilian and military set up. The national leadership of Pakistan should very minutely study the case to determine as what Mansoor Ijaz wants from Pakistan? What are his motives? Although apparently it seems that he wants to pit military against civilian Government to derail democratic process yet he can have more nefarious designs. This person is a great traitor and must be brought back to Pakistan and should be tried.

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  • Nosherwan Shahid Shaikh
    Nov 21, 2011 - 10:53PM

    So, whose the current ambassador to US? Are we Hibernating for now?

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  • Mirza
    Nov 22, 2011 - 10:47AM

    @Mehvish Bukhari:
    I think you have valid points to think about. However, now Mansoor Ijaz has been exposed for what he is. It is not going to be easy for him to replace HH. While HH is popular among many Pakistani Americans, they do not like MI for his arrogance and shifty character.
    Regards,
    Mirza

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  • M. Akthar
    Nov 23, 2011 - 4:03AM

    Who has resigned in the army after the osama killing? Which general? Why such a big fuss now?

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