In a startling revelation, the Memogate commission’s report made public on Tuesday, following apex court orders, has established that the memorandum was real and Husain Haqqani was indeed the originator and architect of the document delivered to US officials seeking assistance to overthrow the top military brass of the country.
On Tuesday, Attorney General Irfan Qadir read out the findings of the report before a larger nine-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who summoned the former ambassador to the US at the next date of hearing.
Branding the controversial memorandum “an authentic document”, the commission – headed by Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and comprising chief justices of Sindh and Islamabad High Court as its members – pointed out that Haqqani did indeed seek US help — possibly to sell himself as an indispensable asset to the Americans.
It also noted that Haqqani had lost sight of the fact that he was both a Pakistani citizen and his country’s top envoy to the United States.
Haqqani, according to the report, delivered a message through Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz to then US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen through General James Jones. He offered his services as part of a proposed national security team while expressing fears that Pakistan’s nuclear assets were legitimate targets and thereby seeking a foreign government’s help to bring those assets under a more verifiable, transparent regime.
The commission observed that the former ambassador told Washington that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) maintains relations with the Taliban, he also offered to eliminate Section S of the ISI, he created fissures in the body politic and these were acts of disloyalty to Pakistan that contravened the Constitution.
“The purpose of the memorandum was to show that the civilian government was a friend of America, but needed to be strengthened to prevail upon the army and the intelligence agencies. And to be able to do so, American help was required to set up a civilian national security team, to be headed by Mr Haqqani,” the report stated.
“There can be no two views that terrorism must be contested, terrorists fought, nuclear proliferation opposed, civilians (and not the military) determine foreign policy and the ship of the state guided by civilian hands at the helm; however, what is not acceptable is for Pakistan’s ambassador to beseech a foreign government with impunity to meddle in and run our affairs.”
The commission observed that Haqqani has chosen not to live in Pakistan and that instead he has been working in the US. He has neither property nor assets in Pakistan in his name and he does not posses money in a Pakistani bank. Despite having no obvious ties to Pakistan, he was appointed to the “extremely sensitive” position of an ambassador, and was being paid a salary of $2 million a year.
After a short hearing, the court adjourning the hearing for two weeks, summoned the former ambassador on the next date.
Haqqani was earlier allowed to leave the country with the commitment that whenever the court required he would appear in person within a period of four days.
Advocate Sardar Asmatullah told The Express Tribune that he was expecting the court to declare Haqqani a proclaimed offender since he had refused to appear before the commission despite earlier assurances.
“The affidavits of army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI’s former director-general Ahmad Shuja Pasha have been proved true by the commission’s report,” he said.
Meanwhile, senior advocate Ikram Chaudhry was of the view that the Supreme Court will announce its verdict on the basis of the evidence the commission has collected and recommend the federal government to take the appropriate action.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2012.