Memogate: 'I have known Haqqani for more than 11-12 years'

Published: November 21, 2011
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KARACHI: Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, who is at the centre of the Memogate scandal with Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, has alleged that he has known the ambassador for more than 11-12 years and that his claims of having met him three or four times were a “flat lie”.

(Read: The case of the curious memo)

In an exclusive interview with Express 24/, Ijaz said that he had developed closer ties with the ambassador during the last two or three years.

Speaking on the Memogate scandal, Ijaz said that the people of Pakistan had to ask themselves why such a herculean effort was being made to cover it all up.

“Why is it that every lie that has been told so far has been recanted? Why is it that Haqqani orchestrated the denial from the foreign office and when that failed he tried it through the presidency?”

Who ordered the memo?

Ijaz said that it was a “conspiracy of the making of Haqqani and his boss or his bosses”. Responding to a question on who was “minding” Haqqani, Ijaz said that President Asif Ali Zardari was involved, who now had esteemed advice from lawyers in the US and Pakistan.

“There is a desperate attempt going on in Pakistan to create a firewall inside the PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party) government between Haqqani and the president.”

Ijaz said that it was his view that the president had explained his problem to Haqqani after the May 1 raid in Abbottabad and that Haqqani had given his assurance that he would “take care of it”.

“I do not believe today that Zardari had any knowledge of the specifics of the memo… I do believe he gave a blanket approval to Haqqani”. Ijaz alleged that Haqqani was not in Washington DC when the raid had taken place.

‘Haqqani not working for Foreign Office or Prime Minister’

Ijaz said there was “factual data” that showed Haqqani was not working for the Foreign Office or Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, and that was unclear who he was working for.

“It is very clear Zardari is giving the orders but the question is where are the instructions to Zardari coming from?”

He said that the president did not have the “intellectual capability” to execute this type of operation and that Haqqani did.

Ijaz said that the objective of the memo was to get Mullen to make a call to Kayani, a private chat between two army chiefs to say that “let’s take stock of the situation and calm everyone down”. He said that the objective had been achieved and that the feedback from both side was the same.

‘No one can challenge my facts’

“They can run and hide all they want to, the facts are already there.”

Ijaz said that he had become an “instrument of transparency” for the press of Pakistan after the memo was made a big issue. “Nobody can challenge my facts,” he added.

He said Haqqani had used him because he was a “plausibly deniable” person.

Ijaz said the first call from Haqqani had come at 12:30pm on May 9. He said he had gone to three people, one of them – a senior politician -had said that he would not help out unless Zardari had sent the memo on his own letterhead signed.

He said the option of delivering the message verbally was also there, but the option was too soft for him. “If things went wrong, I would be the only one who would get burned.”

Ijaz revealed that his wife was in the room when the calls were taking place and that she was on the phone to confirm to his interlocutor that the call with Haqqani had taken place.

“I am shocked the government of Pakistan is hell bent on covering this up”. He said the government should own up to the memo and say “damn right we wrote the memo, because we were afraid that the boots were coming.”

Mansoor ready to testify in Pakistan

Responding to a question on when he would go to Pakistan, he said he did not care who called him as long as it was an official process that called and that he would come tomorrow if they asked.

Ijaz said he had not been asked by Mullen to defend him and that he did not know him.

He said Pakistanis did not look at the facts and went ahead and believed everything, and that the Pakistani press reaction was critical to the Pakistan-US relationship and they instead chose to “lambast” Mullen.

On the petition filed in Pakistan to declare Mullen and himself persona non grata on Pakistani soil, he said it was the “idiocy” of the people with small minds in Pakistan, who don’t have the capacity to understand what the problem is.

He said Pakistan needed someone who understood the plight of the people. “You need a Nelson Mandela figure in Pakistan,” he added.

A silver lining to Memogate?

He said the Army and ISI, who were dominant first, would now become equal with the civilian setup. Ijaz said the civilian side would raise and strengthen itself and hold its own people accountable, and that he saw a bright future coming out of this.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • Maulana Diesel
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:15PM

    I hope Mansoor Ijaz is not expecting Imran Khan to be our Nelson Mandela figure!

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  • Falcon
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:18PM

    Funniest piece of the conversation…”He said that the president did not have the “intellectual capability” to execute this type of operation”…lolz!!!

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  • Nadir
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:19PM

    Someone send him back to Foxnews. Thats where he belongs.

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  • Ch Allah Daad
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:38PM

    This guy looks very cunning. He could have recorded his meetings with General Pasha for future use.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:48PM

    The biggest problem at the moment for Pakistan is Mansoor Ijaz and not Ambassador Haqqani.

    Would Mansoor Ijaz keep his mouth shut instead of giving non-sense statements to print and electronic media of Pakistan.

    The Pakistani nation respects Ambassador Haqqani and believes whatever he is saying is true. You are not a Pakistani national and therefore we do not believe what you are saying.

    Your role for Pakistanis is not more than of “Be-Jamalo” Hope you understand that much of Urdu being an American national of Pakistani origin.

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  • Ali
    Nov 22, 2011 - 12:00AM

    Curtains for Zardari..

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  • Mirza
    Nov 22, 2011 - 12:01AM

    Mansoor Ijaz is known among Pakistani Americans as power and fame hungry man who would do anything for the limelight. Here is his moment of fame but only as a snitch or rat not a great leader or patriotic man to any country. He has been infamous as a shady and shifty character.

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  • Khalid
    Nov 22, 2011 - 12:09AM

    This is getting better and better.

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  • Timour
    Nov 22, 2011 - 12:33AM

    What a complete joker. He said three times “Im an ultra rich individual”….it has been my experience that if you need to tell people you are rich…then you really aren’t that rich at all.

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  • Ali Wazir
    Nov 22, 2011 - 12:36AM

    I love how he is actually right about how the media is trying to cover up for Husain Haqqani. Too bad the “intergalactic” ego of Mansoor Ejaz has decided to send our smarmy two faced ambassador to the cleaners….

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  • Joe
    Nov 22, 2011 - 12:57AM

    I sincerely hope that people actually read about his background before they form an opinion on the authenticity of this story.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mansoor_Ijaz

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  • Sindhi Topi
    Nov 22, 2011 - 1:01AM

    Trust me the three musketeers-AZ, YRG & HH will survieve this one as well. People are not ready to come on the street, fauj is not reday to overthrow the civilian set up and the oppostion is eating phajji ka paya…….and AZ is aware of all this. Let these 20 ancors/journalist make as mush hue and cry as they can…..ek zardari sou par bhari.

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  • Mirza
    Nov 22, 2011 - 1:39AM

    @Timour: You got it exactly right. There is another infamous character in America called Donald Trump who lies about his net worth and boasts about it. His ego is higher than Empire State building. In addition Don wanted to be the presedential candidate as well. On the other hand the richest man in the US, Warren Buffett who never talks about his wealth has quietly donated 99% of his wealth to charity. An empty pot makes most noise.

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/06/15/news/newsmakers/WarrenBuffettPledge_Letter.fortune/index.htm
    Thanks and regards,
    Mirza

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  • Muneeb
    Nov 22, 2011 - 1:54AM

    I have only one reason to trust the credibility of Ijaz Mansoor and that he do have the intellectual capability to understand that the “president do not have the “intellectual capability” to execute this type of operation”….I am love with this sentence :-p

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Nov 22, 2011 - 2:25AM

    I would like the readers of these valued columns of Express Tribune to click the link below so that they should know more as who is Mansoor Ijaz and what are his activities.

    http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/MONITOR/ISSUE3-2/menon.html

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  • Devils A\dvice
    Nov 22, 2011 - 3:57AM

    Ultra Rich–Costly Lawyers @ Zurich ,London, NY ,lol and NO Islamabad ??
    you better find some famous BOKLA in Islamabad dude.

    “idiocy” of the people with small minds in Pakistan, who don’t have the capacity to understand what the problem is.”

    So he Helped Journail Mush in Kashmir issue ? and he thinks that Indians are on board for his suggestion to reslove Kashmir issue???

    I think this guy is eating BURGER at Wrong Place.

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  • Cautious
    Nov 22, 2011 - 4:25AM

    He said the government should own up to the memo and say “damn right we wrote the memo, because we were afraid that the boots were coming.”
    .
    In any other country that’s exactly what would happen — but in Pakistan the govt has cultivated an anti American attitude to the public for years and you can’t turn that around with a press conference.
    .
    This whole episode smacks of desperation which may explain why such oafish method was used to approach the American’s. Recommend

  • Max
    Nov 22, 2011 - 6:07AM

    The guy has serious attitude problems besides being snobbish rather a little-show off. The educated people do not use irresponsible language neither do they go around telling on air where they studied, who attended their marriage, how well they are connected in the U.S. policy circles. Also how many lawyers can they hire and that also all over the world. What was the point of bringing up all those things? The lady did not ask any of these. If he was trying to impress the listeners then I am highly impressed.
    Then he turned around and started giving foreign-policy advises. If you are an ordinary American, it is none of your business. It looks like some kind of personal vendetta being settled than anything else.

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  • vasan
    Nov 22, 2011 - 6:51AM

    Even if we assume that Haqqani called up Ijaz mansoor, is there a proof to what is in the memo is dictated by haqqani or is it made up by Ijaz mansoor?

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    Nov 22, 2011 - 7:58AM

    @Mirza:
    You seem to have followed right into his footsteps and his modus operandi.

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  • Me2
    Nov 22, 2011 - 11:44AM

    Why can’t we have some self respect and why does our media give him so much air time and importance? Why is this foreigner lecturing our whole nation? Do we have any pride at all??

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  • Ishrat Salim
    Nov 22, 2011 - 5:26PM

    Reply to Me2…do we hv any self-respect left after all the corruption & goverance issues every day -in – day out….?? why shud we be drolling on this subject full of controversial comments etc;….let this issue be discussed in the Parliament / Senate & let SC takeup this issue….everything will be open for the public to decide…

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  • Noureen
    Nov 22, 2011 - 7:51PM

    It is deep hatched conspiracy against civilian leadership of Pakistan and Ambassador Hussain Haqqani. One wonders when this article was first time published no one paid attention but when Mullen confirmed they all rose storm in the tea cup. We forgot that the previous history of Mullen and Mansoor Ijaz. Both are hard critics of Military and Mansoor Ijaz has written hundred and thousands words against ISI and even demanded to declare it a terrorist agency, while Mullen too maligned Pak military and our spy agency time and again. It is very much unfortunate that we believe in two anti Pakistan elements and not ready to listen our own man. I have several questions in mind like many other Pakistanis. Few are here. * Why Mansoor Ijaz did leak the memo and wrote the article for press? What are his motives?* As Ambassador Mr Haqqani had direct access to highest civil authority in USA so why would he chose a betraying businessman? * SMS record of calling each other is OK but what were the actual transcripts of those conversations; did it contain the memo’s wording or substance.* How and what stage Mr Zardari allegedly conveyed such instructions to Mr Haqqani.* Why would Mr. Haqqani send the memo to Mike Mullen, a person who was retiring shortly and himself an Army General? * Why would Mr Zardari as President go through some one else in such delicate matter, he could have gone to USA on any pretext to see some more relevant tycoon in US admin?* Why Mr Zardari had not preferred to call the American Ambassador in presidency to convey that much weighty message directly to the American bosses?I invite everyone to mull over it. Try to catch the conspiracy behind Memo.

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  • Wajahat
    Nov 22, 2011 - 7:53PM

    Mansoor Ijaz is known among Pakistani Americans as power and fame hungry man who would do anything for the limelight. Here is his moment of fame but only as a snitch or rat not a great leader or patriotic man to any country. He has been infamous as a shady and shifty character. In the entire issue Mansoor Ijaz is the only bone of contention. Hussain Haqqani is hundred thousand times more credible than Mansoor Ijaz. He is not a man of character and even can sell out Pakistan for few pennies. Don’t you think his articles against our spy agency were just a free service, never, he is on payroll of anti Pakistan elements and Hussain Haqqani was thorn in the eyes of these elements therefore Mansoor Ijaz was used as a middle man to defame and dislodge Ambassador Hussain Haqqani. These anti Pakistan elements had only one problem with Mr. Haqqani that he very easily saved Pakistan’s interests our OBL episode, Raymond Davis saga case and later Haqqani network Issue therefore his opponents are not ready to digest him on the helm of affairs. I am sure soon this conspiracy would be unmasked and you will see that Hussain Haqqani had nothing to do with it.

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  • Moid
    Nov 23, 2011 - 2:14AM

    I am by no means in support of Hussan Haqqani or the PPP led government, but I do feel that Masoor Ijaz needs to reconsider his approach and reevaluate his demeanor. By no means is his attitude respectful to the people of Pakistan or the Pakistani press. Being an American citizen does not allow one to neglect and negate citizens of other nations. Second, the fact that he has to shed light on his ‘influential’ contacts and constantly claim his financial well being sounds as if he is desparately trying to assert himself as the center of attention.

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  • Dec 3, 2011 - 11:03PM

    hijijihihhihih

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