Haqqani Denies Links to Secret Memo

Rezaul H Laskar/Islamabad
Haqqani Denies Links to Secret Memo
Pakistan's Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani has stuck to his stance that he had nothing to do with the controversial secret memorandum sent to former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen to prevent a possible military coup, according to a media report today.

Haqqani conveyed his position to President Asif Ali Zardari during two informal meetings held at the presidency yesterday, the Dawn quoted sources close to the President as saying.

There was no official word about the reported meetings.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said "no official meeting" was slotted as yesterday was a Sunday.

Haqqani is expected to explain his position on the memo during a formal meeting at the presidency today with Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence chief Maj Gen Shuja Pasha.

The envoy, who arrived in Islamabad last morning after being called back by the government, reportedly held informal meetings with some officials of the armed forces and Foreign Office yesterday.

During his meetings with Zardrai yesterday, Haqqani reportedly presented his version of events linked to the memo that has shaken up Pakistan's political and diplomatic circles.

"I think the problem has been resolved and details will be made public in a couple of days," a source was quoted as saying by the Dawn.

Before the meetings, it was expected that Haqqani might resign as he had already said that he could quit if ordered to do so by Zardari.

Haqqani's "primary defence" was that the memo was "unsigned and unverified".

The sources told the daily that Haqqani was asked not to tender his resignation and to face the situation with the assertion that he was not involved in the matter.

Zardari is believed to be of the view that Haqqani could not have got "involved in such an anti-state affair".

The president is expected to order an inquiry into the controversy to ascertain who had written the memo and at whose behest.

Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz has claimed that he drafted the memo on Haqqani's instructions and delivered it through an intermediary to Mullen.

Haqqani has denied these claims. Mullen has confirmed that he received the memo but said he took no action on it.

In yet another twist, former US National Security Advisor James Jones has said he was the intermediary who delivered the memo to Mullen for Ijaz.

However, Jones said he was neither a serving government official or associated with the Obama administration in any way when he delivered the memo to Mullen.

"I was not in government when I forwarded the message to Admiral Mullen on May 10," Jones, who was the NSA of President Barack Obama from January 2009 to October 2010, said in an email sent to some Pakistani journalists.

Ijaz has confirmed that he recently met the ISI chief in London to hand over evidence related to the memo.

Meanwhile, Haqqani has said he is prepared to face an inquiry to prove that Ijaz's claims are false.

Haqqani believes Ijaz is blaming him to "create a crisis" in Pakistan. He said all the technical proof was fabricated and he was ready for a probe led by a Supreme Court judge.

Haqqani was quoted by The News daily as saying that while he was defending the Pakistan Army in the US after the raid against Osama bin Laden, Ijaz had declared the ISI a terrorist organisation.

He said his family had served the armed forces and defended Pakistan’s interests.

"Allegations should be probed. The investigation will prove the background of this issue," he said.

"He (Ijaz) is an American citizen. How could he defend Pakistan's interests? I leave it to the President and the premier to decide how the story of a suspected person could be authentic," Haqqani said.

"Mansoor Ijaz has given several interviews to the media, which should realise that he only wanted to create confusion between the civilian and military establishment, and strain Pakistan-US ties further," he added.

It was beyond comprehension why a person like Ijaz first delivered a memo and later exposed it, and targeted a particular person, Haqqani said.
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