Haqqani sought US help against army: commission
Iftikhar A. Khan
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court ordered former ambassador Husain Haqqani on Tuesday to appear before it to answer findings of the Memo Commission that he was originator of the memorandum which sought American help to avert a possible military coup in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s death in a US raid on his Abbottabad’s compound in May last year.
“Prima facie it seems that Mr Husain Haqqani, former ambassador of Pakistan in USA, has to answer about the findings so recorded by the commission. He was allowed to leave the country with the commitment vide order 30.1.2012 that whenever the court requires, he will appear in person within a period of four days.
“Therefore, we direct his presence on the next date of hearing, which shall be intimated by the office according to the rules,” said a short order issued by a nine-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
The confidential report submitted by the commission over the weekend was unsealed before the bench dealing with the so-called ‘memogate’ scandal which Ijaz Mansoor, a US citizen of Pakistan origin, broke in October 2011 and shook the country. The court ordered that other sealed envelopes containing documents be kept in safe custody of the registrar and any of them shall be opened, if need be, during the proceedings of the case.
The judicial commission was constituted by the Supreme Court to determine authenticity, origin and purpose of the memorandum seeking direct US intervention to avert a possible overthrow of the civilian apparatus by the military. It has held that Mr Haqqani was originator and architect of the memo sent to former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen.
The commission’s findings were read out by Attorney General Irfan Qadir. The report submitted in a sealed cover, along with five separate sealed envelopes, was unsealed on the orders of the bench before it formally directed to make the document public.
The commission said that it had been incontrovertibly established that the memorandum was authentic. Mr Haqqani sought American help; he also wanted to create a niche for himself to become indispensable for the Americans forever. “He lost sight of the fact that he is a Pakistani citizen and Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States and, therefore, his loyalty could only be to Pakistan”.
Mr Haqqani by offering his services as part of a proposed ‘national security team’ to a foreign government, voicing the ‘great fears’ that “Pakistan’s nuclear assets were now legitimate targets” and thus seeking to bring “Pakistan’s nuclear assets under a more verifiable, transparent regime”, stating that ISI maintains ‘relations to the Taliban’ and offering to ‘eliminate Section S of the ISI’ and to help ‘pigeonhole’ the forces lined up against US interests, created fissures in the body politic and were acts of disloyalty to Pakistan that contravened the Constitution, the commission noted.
It said the purpose of the memorandum was to show that the civilian government was friends of America, but needed to be strengthened to prevail upon the army and 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 nobody else but Haqqani himself.
The commission said: “There can be no two views that terrorism must be contested, terrorists fought, nuclear proliferation opposed, civilians determine foreign policy and the ship of state guided by civilian hands at the helm. However, what is not acceptable is for Pakistan’s ambassador to beseech a foreign government to with impunity meddle in and run our affairs.
“We may observe that Mr Haqqani has chosen not to live in Pakistan, has been working in the USA, where he appeared to have made his life, held no property or asset in Pakistan, held no money (save a paltry amount ) in a Pakistani bank, but despite having no obvious ties to Pakistan was appointed to the extremely sensitive position of Pakistan’s ambassador to the USA, and in addition to being paid a salary and accompanying emoluments was handed a largesse of over an amount of two million dollars a year.”
The commission headed by Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa comprises Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman and Sindh High Court Chief Justice Mushir Alam. The court adjourned the hearing for two weeks as notices to the respondents are to be issued and directed Mr Haqqani to appear before it at the next hearing.