Memogate: We are ready to face legal action, says Farahnaz Ispahani

Published: November 21, 2011
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Ambassador Haqqani's wife denies allegations of her husband's involvement in the memo scandal, slams Mansoor Ijaz. PHOTO: INP/FILE

Ambassador Haqqani's wife denies allegations of her husband's involvement in the memo scandal, slams Mansoor Ijaz. PHOTO: INP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Media Adviser to the President Farahnaz Ispahani, who is also the wife of Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, said on Monday that the pair is ready to face legal action regarding the memo controversy.

Talking to the media outside the Supreme Court, Ispahani raised doubts over the credibility of the Pakistani American businessman Mansoor Ijaz who claims that Haqqani asked him to deliver the memo to Adm Mike Mullen in May this year.

“He is a foreign national who is blaming us and attacking Pakistan’s democracy,” Ispahani told reporters outside the apex court building in Islamabad.

She denied the allegations regarding the controversial memo and said the pair is ready for Pakistani and American courts because they have nothing to hide.

“I am a worker of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP),” she said. “When the president and prime minister guide us to take a legal option, we will do so,” she added.

She also said that if the top leadership of her party permits it, the pair will take Ijaz to court for libel.

Ijaz hit out at the ambassador on challenging the authenticity of the memo and ruled out any missing links in the authenticity chain. He said that he was an “ultra wealthy” individual who handles his own investments and would sue anyone for slandering against him using the best of lawyers from London, New York and Switzerland.

Local media reports implicated Haqqani in a memo allegedly sent from Zardari to Mullen, then America’s top military officer, seeking to curtail Pakistan’s military shortly after it was humiliated by the bin Laden killing.

Zardari reportedly feared that the military might seize power in a bid to limit the hugely damaging fallout in Pakistan after Navy SEALs killed bin Laden in the garrison city of Abbottabad on May 2.

The alleged memo, released last month by Ijaz, said that a “new national security team” in Pakistan — with US support — could end ties between Pakistani intelligence and militants.

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.

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.

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Reader Comments (32)

  • Not me
    Nov 21, 2011 - 1:17PM

    Please take her up on the offer and refer the matter to Hon Supreme Court

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  • Truth Seeker
    Nov 21, 2011 - 1:41PM

    When God wants to punish someone; He bestows what is sought by that person,so that the ‘so called victim’ has no excuse. Script of text messaging explains as if friends are discussing plot of an explosive best seller, and now God has given an opportunity to both Ijaz and Haqqani to write their versions.
    It is not the party leadership but only Hussain Haqqani (at present ) whose credibility is at stake, so instead of taking refuge behind the (transparent) cover of the leadership he should go for libel suit against the accuser Mansoor Ijaz. Or else keep quiet and always remember the precious wise words of Confucius that ‘silence is the true friend that never betrays’. As there was no text messaging when Confucious was alive so he did not include it with silence; and now Haqqani should include text messaging( with silence) as well in his note book of Pearls of Wisdom.

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  • Innocent
    Nov 21, 2011 - 1:56PM

    Well, you can’t actually admit to it can you Farahnaz? That would be an unmitigated disaster for Zardari league.
    Let us hope it is not a case of call my bluff and false bravado. Let us hope that what your team claims is the truth.Recommend

  • Mastuj
    Nov 21, 2011 - 3:18PM

    Yes, we will only defend ourselves legally if the party leadership allows us to. Be it a completely personal attack nothing to do with the party. Wow, what loyalty.

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  • Ishrat Salim
    Nov 21, 2011 - 3:36PM

    This is a personal war between HH & IM & nothing to do with PPP leadershipat the moment….if HH personal credibility / reputation is at stake he can sue IM & nobody shud hv any objection to this action…..but this is catch 22 situation…..Recommend

  • Zulfiqar
    Nov 21, 2011 - 3:52PM

    And presumably you will use NRO or Presidential Pardon in the end——how thick do you think we really are?????

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  • MBN
    Nov 21, 2011 - 4:58PM

    Wait, so she and her husband AREN’T foreign nationals? ZE LULZ.

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  • Maulana Diesel
    Nov 21, 2011 - 5:23PM

    We are with you Ambassador Haqqani! This is nothing but a conspiracy hatched by the establishment. I knew it was a conspiracy when Pasha himself went to see Mansoor Ijaz in London to get the “forensic evidence”.

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  • Shabnum
    Nov 21, 2011 - 5:40PM

    No surprises here that Ispahani is media adviser to the President, dare I say nepotism? Vote PTI, if anything at least we will have a leader that has genuinely accomplished something in life.

    Wazeer-e-azam Imran Khan

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  • Rabia Khan
    Nov 21, 2011 - 6:25PM

    Lol America had their ambassador bribed, America is more clever than one can imagine, Mullen blowing the cover about Haqani’s deceit is part of another conspiracy.Recommend

  • Imran
    Nov 21, 2011 - 6:25PM

    Everything appearing in the Western media is a conspiracy against Pakistan unless it is published against the PPP. Isn’t it?

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  • Imran
    Nov 21, 2011 - 6:33PM

    Who meets Mansoor Ijaz in the USA? Who meets Munter along with Imran Khan? Who had been paying/feeding the Editor of a leading English Daily? Who has been signaling a major party from Karachi to create chaos? Who has been declaring Nawaz Sharif a security risk? Whose backyard OBL was hiding in? Recommend

  • WoW
    Nov 21, 2011 - 7:28PM

    First things first. Beforre putting him on trial, can you PLEASE hang the people who kept OBL in Pakistan.

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  • Khadim Husain
    Nov 21, 2011 - 8:09PM

    Isfahani was middle link between mastermind and Haqqani, according to Blackberry conversation, Isfahani name was there.
    I don’t think Isfahani would ever go to courts, it is delaying tactic to pass the hard times.
    It is thought of fools that U.S. establishment has hatched this conspiracy, the contents of memo clearly defines mentality of Haqqani and Zardari. For U.S. generals are ever more faithful then civilians. Democracy and NRO was a cover to protect relations between U.S. and Army.
    Think! if Haqqani and Zardari were not on weak grounds then why propagated that Mansoor Ijaz is Ahmadi. This is old tactics of PPP to declare anyone Ahmadi when caught red handed.
    Isfahani’s million dollar properties are in USA, and she will never dared to go to courts. I think so.

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  • Just 4 show
    Nov 21, 2011 - 9:33PM

    The usa is once again playing games and they do because pakistanis are so gullible ..Recommend

  • Moulvi Nawaz Shareef
    Nov 21, 2011 - 10:10PM

    Typical PPP crying tactics….don’t waste your time Mrs Haqqani, go to the courts!!! lol

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  • Parvez
    Nov 21, 2011 - 10:53PM

    Damage has already been done. What will be worse is if the damage control is messed up, which looks most likely.

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  • Nadia
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:02PM

    I pray to Allah to give wisdom to my beloved Pakistan and its inhabitants who can’t understand such a simple case behind the walls. Hussain Haqqani did not do anything wrong, it was his duty to do maintain cordial ties between USA and Pakistan so he did. All he was doing was with the will of Government. Please see behind the walls what’s going on! Haqqani is not going to stop drone attacks, it’s the military that must be having a secret agreement with USA to enforce these attacks, or they are incompetent to do so!
    Hussain Haqqani is neither a traitor nor has committed treason, and he strongly defied that he has drafted any such memo. On the other hand, no one knows who is Mansoor Ijaz ? What are his motives? What is his credibility? He is the man of Islamabad or Washington? I am sorry but I must say that we are damn fool that we believe in a person who is American and do not ready to hear what our own ambassador saying. Pakistanis are no so naïve now they knew who is behind all this drama.

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  • Saif Ullah Ali
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:02PM

    Any sane person with little thinking may know that who sheltered Osama and why Zardari became fearful of a coup de’tat, the main cause of this memo?
    Hussain Haqqani did not cause the release of Raymond Davis; he must be a facilitator on behalf of foreign policy makers, and guess who sets the foreign policy?
    It is more than obvious that the author of financial times story has a dubious and murky character with very negligible credibility and that may have been the reason for Admiral Mullen to pay no heed to the memo sent by Mr. Mansoor Ijaz.. Mullen has confirmed the memo. He had never denied it – simply said that he has no recollection and in light of all this hullabaloo he managed to trace it. But it gives rise to several questions? What is the prove that memo was sent by Hussain Haqqani? Why this memorandum was sent to Mullen? Who the hell Mullen was? Another serious question that does this memorandum carry signatures or stamp of Hussain Haqqani or Pakistan Embassy? Was there any shortage of diplomatic staff that a minter like Mansorr Ijaz was hired for this purpose? Everything about this memorandum is fake and fabricated; it is a conspiracy to malign Hussain Haqqani and democratic Govt of Pakistan

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  • Sabir
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:03PM

    My question to audience here is that how many believe Mansoor Ijaz told correct?
    If he did, then also believe in his allegations against ISI. He constantly used to write against Pakistan Military and ISI to please Amercian master and a person who can write against Pakistan military and spy agency at the behest of his masters can draft hundred and thousands such memos and associated them with any of Pakistani. Why we are so choosy in abusing and hatred and forget the facts?
    If Manssor even claimed and Mullan admitted; does it mean that Zardari and Haqqani did it? Infact Mansoor Ijaz is a henchman of establishment. Mr. Hussain Haqqani was a bone of contention for those who roast the goose in our media and not strangely, they belong to rightist lobby. This is totally a case of fabrication surely thorough investigation must be conducted to unveil the curtain. He should not be made an escape goat to please some.

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  • Afaq Syed
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:04PM

    I have few questions regarding this topi drama of Memo? 1st, where is the proof that the memo originated from Hussain Haqqani or any of Zardari;’s people. Could it not be a false flag operation? 2nd, If it was really Zardari who had done it and Ijaz was representing Zardari, what was the need for him to write an article about this in Financial Times. 3rd, Didn’t Mullen say Kayani was his great friend? Why would Zardari send a memo to Mullen – why not to some civilian authority? If people believe that Zardari’s team actually wrote this memo, then they must also believe the last paragraph of the memo where it clearly states that government has enough evidence of the guilt of people of Pakistani origin people outside government and also within ISI in the Mumbai 2008 terror attacks and it would make these people accountable. The other option is that while this memo exists, it was not written by Zardari or his people but simply includes indirectly accuses elected officials of hot buttons like co-operating with India and Afghanistan. By doing that alongside the promise of independent inquiry, the military
    (if it is behind this whole drama) is trying to discredit any outcomes of the independent inquiry by showing the inquiry to be a conspiracy against the army.

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  • Sundas Awaz
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:04PM

    Why so much attention is being given to a shady character like Mansoor Ijaz is beyond comprehension. A man whose credibility in the international arena is murky to say the least, is being believed over Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, who has served our country in the most difficult of times. Ambassador Haqqani has denied that he has anything to do with the memo. Admiral (retd) Mike Mullen first denied any knowledge about the memo but later confirmed he had received it. But according to Mr Mullen’s spokesman, “…neither the contents of the memo nor the proof of its existence altered or affected in any way the manner in which Adm. Mullen conducted himself in his relationship with General Kayani and the Pakistani government. He did not find it at all credible and took no note of it then or later. Therefore, he addressed it with no one.” Mr Mullen’s admission in and by itself does not link the memo either to President Asif Zardari or Ambassador Haqqani. This should put to rest the ‘credibility’ of the memo. Had it come from the highest echelons of the civilian government in Pakistan, Mr Mullen would have at least discussed it with someone in his government.

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  • Muzamil Haider
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:05PM

    Mr Mansoor Ijaz is considered to be a controversial man with a peculiar agenda; an agenda that seems to be dictated from somewhere else. Thus this so-called Memogate affair should be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism. The thrust of the memo and the characters involved seem like something out of a Hollywood flick and not real life. This is not to say that stranger things have not happened in this ‘land of the pure’ but the credibility of the entire episode should be based on an investigation by the Pakistan government. Instead of acting like the judge and the jury, the Pakistani media should wait for an explanation at the end of a transparent investigation process. The sense of alarm owing to an unnecessary controversy is not justified.

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  • Fatima Malik
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:05PM

    It is the government’s prerogative who to appoint as an ambassador but given the role Ambassador Husain Haqqani has played in highly tense situations in order to keep the US-Pak relationship intact within a relative framework has made the diplomat a thorn in the side of some anti-democratic forces. As long as Mr Haqqani is in Washington, these forces would not get what they want. Now the ghairat (honour) brigade is trying to ratchet up a controversy because of their anti-American and anti-democratic sentiments. The military’s policy vis-à-vis the US-Pakistan relationship has been obstructionist at best. This goes down well with the ghairat brigade.

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  • Sadaf Jamal
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:06PM

    When you read the memo it is obvious that somebody other than Ambassador Haqqani has written it. The memo has many grammatical errors, has strange sentence constructs and is non sequitur at many places. Ambassador Haqqani could have done better penmanship, if he was the author of this strange memo. Besides being a good speaker and writer, he is a research guide for doctoral students. Anybody who authored this memo should be fired,if not for the conspiracy against the military,at least for bad writing. The government has not yet taken a clear position on the issue. To jump to conclusions on the basis of spurious allegations is not appropriate. Let the government come out with an explanation publicly after thorough investigation. Since enough dust has been kicked up to justify calling the ambassador to Pakistan for an explanation, we must reserve judgment until the whole issue is investigated and put to rest one way or the other.

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  • Somia Batool
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:07PM

    The mouthpieces of establishment are at fire against Ambassador Hussain Haqqani and we people too. Whenever someone is charged for some misconduct, but it is sad indeed that everyone here is yearning one thing or the other without any prove or probing into issue. Let the issue by probed into and let the truth come out. It is totally unfair to accuse someone until charges proved. I guess this memo was drafted months ago, why suddenly Mansoor Ijaz remembered to bring this paper afore. Who is pulling his strings to malign Hussain Haqqani and democratic Government of Pakistan? Hussain Haqqani has publicly denied about this memorandum. Mansoor Ijaz should be brought into justice and should be asked to give solid evidences against Hussain Haqqani. This transcript is totally fake and a deep hatched conspiracy. We have just opened a Pandora box, without facts behind well interwoven story to dislodge democratic Government.

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  • Mohammad Awais
    Nov 22, 2011 - 12:40AM

    We respect the courage of Farahnaz Ispahani to defend her husband in a courageous manner. She should clear one thing more – madam! why you not surrender your American nationality to become true and complete Pakistani?

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  • F Khan
    Nov 22, 2011 - 4:18AM

    @ Sadaf Jamal: MI never claimed that the memo were written by HH. He admits that it was written by him and still has hand notes/emails.The basic structure and points in the memo were exchanged on BBM and telephone b/w MI and HH. Follow the BBM which is now in in public domain,you will get the truth. The kind of american english slang used in the BBM b/w HH and MI can not be created by GHQ and Apara in the next 50 years even.Hope you get it from where I am coming from. It is no secret that there was a memo from HH to Adm Mullen. The million dollar question is was AZ on board and gave strategical approval to HH to go ahead? I think YES….YES…YES.

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  • T Khan
    Nov 22, 2011 - 4:33AM

    hunh!!! It is a bit sad reading the comments as to how we as a nation think. It is all about scapegoating and nothing to do with fact finding. Being a born and raised Pakistani, living in west, the difference that I C in the two societies is truthfulness.

    We have been raised in a culture of lying and deception if it was our back that could get thrashed for a wrong doing, and the instinct of proving self right by pointing blame elsewhere.

    Children here, even ours of Pakistani origin, only learn to do and say things the right way. That is not to say that there are no liers and cheaters here, but the basic values or something in the air facilitates them to become an upright person…

    Alas, all these values have been dictated by Allah, whom we claim to be exclusively ours, but lack the will and ability to follow.

    I don’t know who this Ijaz fellow is, but one ting that strikes me is that for him his country and his loyalty to his country comes first, the reasons that he gave for writing what he did (his country being US), can we say the same about the people on the other side??? The zaradiris, isphanies and haqqanies???

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  • BillyGun
    Nov 22, 2011 - 4:37AM

    Mansoor Ijaz is going on every channel, express news, ndtv etc. and explaining his stance in detail. Whereas Haqqani, is hiding and now asking her wife to gain sympathies for him. If he is so naive and innocent then he should come out of his hiding face the music. He must have a media trial. He must answer all the allegations of Mansoor Ijaz. Recommend

  • Tipu Sultan
    Nov 22, 2011 - 11:07AM

    She looks very relaxed and someone trustworthy

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  • Yasir
    Nov 22, 2011 - 7:54PM

    This is undoubtedly a conspiracy and an Independent Commission, an oxymoron statement at that, could determine and publicly present their findings within 15 days. There is sufficient evidence that cannot be destroyed electronically and therefore convictions are possible. Mrs. Haqqani has stated that they will sue Mansoor Ijaz for slander and defamation. She is very right that this person should be given a lesson so that he could never dare again to move his nefarious designs again. But I suggest here to civilian Govt of Pakistan take strong action against Mansoor Ijaz for he tried to pit military against democracy. I am sure soon the cat will be out of bag and this conspiracy will die its own death. Hussain Haqqani is ready to surrender his laptop and black berry but why not Mansoor Ijaz. I am sure Hussain Haqqani is innocent and will be cleared from all the charges. This person should be grilled thoroughly because he is posing severe threats to democracy.

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