The embattled Pakistan?s envoy to the United States Husain Haqqani lost his job Tuesday to face a detailed inquiry over allegations of seeking Washington help in reining in Pakistan Army and premier intelligence agency ISI.
The critical step came after Mr Haqqani held a prolonged meeting with President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani, Army Chief Gen Kayani and ISI chief Gen Pasha, at which he was asked questions about the memo he had allegedly sent to Admiral Mike Mullen through businessman Mansoor Ijaz, an American citizen of Pakistani origin.
After Haqqani?s briefing, the top civil and military leadership agreed to an inquiry into so-called memogate scandal. A spokesman for the prime minister?s office said Haqqani was asked to resign and there would be an investigation into the memo. The state television reported acceptance of envoy?s resignation by the PM.
Sources said the envoy pleaded not guilty in his briefing to the leadership and handed over his blackberry telephone and relevant documents. He said he had nothing to do with the memo and was ready to face any inquiry.
Haqqani also said, on his Twitter account, that he had sent his resignation to the prime minister. ?I have much to contribute to building a new Pakistan free of bigotry & intolerance,? Haqqani wrote on Twitter. ?Will focus energies on that.?
After Haqqani?s resignation, Iffat Gardezi has been made acting ambassador to the US and speculations have already started about the likely successor of Mr Haqqani. According to official sources PM Gilani ordered a ?detailed investigation at an appropriate level?. Well-placed sources told The Nation that prime minister issued the directives after consolations with ISI DG Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha. Sources further said that the briefing and resignation of Husain Haqqani was followed by a high level meeting at Aiwan-e-Sadr among the President Zardari, PM Gilani, Army Chief Gen Kiyani and DG ISI Pasha.
Although there was no official word about this meeting, the sources claimed that issues relating to investigation as well as next appointment of new ambassador to the US came were discussed. The sources said that the meeting discussed certain names including those of Ambassador to UN Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and Former ISI chief Gen (r) Ehsanul Haq. But the names of President?s General Secretary Salman Farooqi, Former army chief and ex-ambassador to the US Gen (r) Jehangir Karamat and former US ambassador Dr Maleeha Lodhi are said to be under consideration.
?The matter would be decided soon after more consolations?, the sources said, adding that the government would appoint the most appropriate person as envoy to US to help normalise the strained Pak-US relations.
The sources also said that the meeting discussed whether government should appoint a judicial commission, order a parliamentary probe or go for an official investigation by senior officials drawn from intelligence agencies and police. The meeting agreed to continue more consultations over the scope and terms of reference of the investigation, they said.
PM House spokesman said that all concerned would be afforded sufficient and fair opportunity to present their views and the investigation shall be carried out fairly, objectively and without bias. He further said: ?As result of controversy generated by the alleged memo which had been drafted, formulated and further admitted to have been received by a US authority, it has become necessary in the national interest to formally arrive at the actual and true facts.?
Observers say the development has opened the doors for some more high level changes. The expected changes, it is said, may alter the political landscape of the country. Now, a detailed inquiry will be conducted to ascertain who had played what role in conveying the said memo to Adm Mullen, which many say was an attempt to drag in the Americans to control the Pakistan army. The modalities of the inquiry are yet to be decided. However, informed sources say that some questions may be referred even to the president and the prime minister.
Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar had said a couple of days ago that in case Ambassador Haqqani was found involved in what has now come to be known as memogate, the prime minister will not be able to escape responsibility.
Ambassador Haqqani was called back from the US a few days ago on the insistence of the military leadership. Before taking the decision, DG ISI flew to London to meet with Mansoor Ijaz and get evidence about the memo.
On returning home, Gen Pasha presented his report to Gen Kayani. It was after Kayani-Pasha meeting that it was decided that Ambassador Haqqani should face the inquiry.
Mr Haqqani was a journalist before he jumped into politics. He was adviser to Mian Nawaz Sharif, who was the Punjab chief minister from 1988 to 1990. He played an important role in stoking confrontation between Benazir Bhutto, the then prime minister, and Mr Sharif. The then governor Gen Tikka Khan was given a very tough time. Whenever he tried to play the role of a watchdog, he was told to remain within limits.
In 1990, when the government of Ms Benazir Bhutto was dismissed on various charges, Mr Haqqani managed to become Special Assistant to caretaker prime minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi. After the 1990 elections, Mian Nawaz Sharif as prime minister, appointed Mr Haqqani as his special assistant.
He was then appointed Pakistan?s ambassador to the Sri Lanka, a position he held from 1992 to 93.
At the time of the 1993 elections, he got closer to Ms Benazir Bhutto, against whom he had earlier been involved in a smear campaign during the Nawaz Sharif period.
And when the PPP was voted to power in 1993, Haqqani was appointed as Federal Information Secretary, an important position in the government. He worked in this position till 1995.
Thereafter, he was appointed Chairman of the House Building Finance Corporation.
During the Musharraf rule, he stayed out of the country. However, when the PPP returned to power as a result of the 2008 elections, he tried to become National Security Adviser. But, the prime minister appointed him ambassador to the United States, a position he abdicated on Tuesday.
2 years ago