By Sajjad Shaukat
The judicial commission of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, probing the memogate case censured the DG of Foreign Ministry Sohail Khan on April 12 this year, while questioning as to why the former ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani had not informed the embassy regarding the misplacement of his blackberry phone-set. The commission criticised Sohail for not acting on the embassy’s ignorance on answering the query which amounts to disobedience.
On April 6, Sohail Khan had recorded his statement before the memo commission and presented the official record from January 2011 to the time when Haqqani resigned. He apprised the court that the former ambassador had gone to London from Washington in 2011 without informing the consulate concerned. Akram Sheikh, counsel for Mansoor Ijaz, requested the commission to seek details of the secret funds of the Embassy of Pakistan in the US, saying the funds were used by Haqqani. The judicial commission had also granted another chance to Husain Haqqani to appear before it on April 12. The commission also directed the government to ensure the former envoy’s presence through the ministries of interior and foreign affairs, proposing four options to bring him back–confiscation of his property in Pakistan, issuance of an arrest warrant, filing of a criminal case against him or holding him in contempt of court.
It is owing to the avoidance of Husain Haqqani to return to Pakistan and to face the queries of the memo judicial commission that apprehensions have emerged about his role in the famous memogate scandal.
Earlier, Husain Haqqani had stated that he resigned from his post to face the investigations in any court regarding the allegations made by Mansoor Ijaz, an American businessman of Pakistani origin in connection with the memo.
On December 15, last year, the Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and former Chief of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha submitted their statements in the Supreme Court in the memogate case. In his reply, Gen. Kayani stated about the memo that a conspiracy was being hatched against the army and national security.
Husain Haqqani also attended the hearings of the Supreme Court, and joined the concerned judicial commission, but he was allowed to leave the country only after an assurance that he would appear before the court whenever ordered to do so.
After going to the US, Haqqani has been using various pretexts, not to face the judicial commission’s inquiry. On January 4, he submitted an application before the memo commission including a medical certificate through his counsel, requesting to adjourn hearing of January 5, stating that he was undergoing cardiac treatment National Institutes of Health in the US. Afterwards, Husain Haqqani submitted another application, requesting the commission to record his statement via video link from the Pakistan High Commission in Landon. On March 26, last year, the memo investigation commission rejected his plea, giving him a chance to appear before the commission as stated by him before leaving Pakistan. Besides, Haqqani had also indicated in a statement that his mobile phone set was missing.
Mansoor Ijaz also submitted his reply in the Supreme Court, claiming that he sent the draft of the memo to Husain Haqqani for review. Ijaz assured Haqqani that the memo contained an offer, backed by President Asif Zardari that the US should help to oust the current military leadership—a new national security team would disband the Army unit which collaborates with the Taliban and other anti-Western militant groups.
In this regard, first of all, Ijaz used various pretexts to come to Pakistan in order to appear before the memo inquiry commission. However, Mansoor Ijaz faced cross-examination of the judicial commission via a video link from the Pakistani High Commission in London.
In a radio interview on May 5, 2011, he accused the army and ISI of protecting Osama Bin Laden right after the May 2 US raid in Abbottabad. He also claimed that it was the country’s civilian leadership which had prior information about the raid. In this context, during his cross-examination to the judicial commission, while elaborating a threat of military coup in Pakistan, Ijaz said that he had received a draft about ISI Chief Pasha’s visit to foreign countries and the May 2 incident, but he refused to comment on the source of the draft. With the passage of time, Mansoor Ijaz expanded his allegations and in the recent past, his claims about a telephone conversation between President Zardari and General Kayani on 2nd May just after the Abbottabad raid were refuted by him.
It is notable that the position of Mansoor Ijaz and Husain Haqqani is different because the latter has served as an ambassador of Pakistan, while the former is a businessman, who also changed his statements on a number of occasions, showing contradictions. The main aim behind was to malign Pak Army and ISI.
Now, it is only due to the no-presence of Husain Haqqani that the inquiry of the judicial commission remains incomplete. In this regard, the commission had approached Supreme Court, seeking further time for completing its findings.
Question arises if the former ISI DG Shuja Pasha can appear before the commission as to why Haqqani is avoiding in this respect.
In fact, the integrity of both Husain Haqqani and Mansoor Ijaz is now clearly doubtful. As regards Husain Haqqani, while serving as Pakistani ambassador, he was protecting American interests. He had issued visas to many CIA agents like Ramond Davis to destabilise Pakistan. Besides, working at various American institutes, Husain Haqqani developed secret liasons with Indo-Israeli lobbies and became covert element of anti-Pakistan campaign. Particulary, this could be judged from his book, titled, “Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military.” In this book, Husain Haqqani targeted both military and Islamic ideology. While pointing out relationship of the Pak Army and ISI with the Islamic militants, Haqqani allegedly wrote, “since September 11, 2001, the selective cooperation of Pakistan’s military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf—sharing intelligence with the United States and apprehending Al Qaeda members—have led to the assumption that Pakistan might be ready to give up its long-standing ties with radical Islam.” He advised America, “Washington should no longer condone the Pakistani military’s support for Islamic militants.”
American famous writers and authors exaggeratedly praised the book of Husain Haqqani as it was in accordance with the hidden agenda and blame game of the US high officials and media which still continue against Pakistan and its security agencies. Especially, Stephen P. Cohen, author of the book, “The Idea of Pakistan and The Pakistan Army” allegedly wrote, “We are in Husain Haqqani’s debt for providing the authoritative account of the linkages between Pakistan’s powerful Islamists and its professional army.” All this indicate that he seems to be an agent of American CIA.
Meanwhile, uncompromising differences might have been created by CIA between Husain Haqqani and Mansoor Ijaz who decided to disclose the real story through the memo so as to fulfill American multiple schemes against Islamabad.
Mansoor Ijaz who was real agent of CIA was also used by this agency not only to create a rift between the civil and military leadership of Pakistan, but also to save Husain Haqqani through the deliberate self-contradictory statements and thus to weaken the case, creating doubts about the authenticity of the memo to further tarnish the image of Pak Army, especially ISI, making them subject of political manipulation in Pakistan.
While, former US National Security Advisor James Jones who earlier admitted the receipt of the secret memo denied the same. And the former Admiral Mike Mullen also refused its confirmation.
Setting aside the services of ISI such as closure of political wing of the agency, capture of renowned Taliban commanders, castigation of pre-terror attacks, sacrifices of ISI personnel, suicide attacks on agency’s premises in various cities of the country, blockage of the activities of Blackwater including CIA agents and submission of information about foreign plot to the civil government against the integrity of the country, some our own media anchors and political parties including so-called human groups were implicating this superior agency and its ex-Chief Shuja Pasha over the memogate issue.
No doubt, memogate scandal is a reality. Now Haqqani has been using one or the other pretext to avoid his return to Pakistan so as to join the investigations of the judicial commission. All this shows malefide of Husain Haqqani who has, in fact, absconded.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations