Hillary urged to help protect Husain Haqqani
Washington: A bipartisan group of foreign policy experts have asked US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to speak with Pakistani leaders and make appropriate public statements to ensure that former diplomat Husain Haqqani is not physically harmed and that due process of law is followed.
"We would urge the US government to continue to weigh in with key Pakistani leaders and to make appropriate public statements to ensure that Husain Haqqani is not physically harmed and that due process of law is followed," said a letter signed by 16 leading US-Pakistan scholars to Hillary.
State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said Hillary has received the letter and would be responding to it. "It has come to our attention that Ambassador Haqqani is under intense pressure in Pakistan, including possibly threats to his life, over the so-called Memogate affair," the letter said.
On Friday, Nuland had urged Pakistan to ensure fair treatment to Haqqani, who served as the Pakistan`s Ambassador to the US, till he resigned in the aftermath of Memogate. According to these experts, the case against Haqqani follows an ominous trend in Pakistan.
"The assassinations of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, and journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad this past year have created a culture of intimidation and fear that is stifling efforts to promote a more tolerant and democratic society.”
"Significant segments of the Pakistani media have already judged Haqqani to be guilty of treason, which could inspire religious extremists to take the law into their own hands as they did with Taseer and Bhatti," the letter said.
Signatories to the letter include Stephen P Cohen from Brookings Institution; Lisa Curtis from the Heritage Foundation; Sadanand Dhume from American Enterprise Institute; Christine Fair, from the Georgetown University; Robert M Hathaway from Woodrow Wilson International Center and Dennis Kux from Woodrow Wilson International Center.
The experts said questions have been raised about the manner in which this case is proceeding against Haqqani and whether due process of law is being followed.
"Internationally recognised human rights defender Asma Jehangir recently quit as Haqqani`s lawyer, citing her lack of confidence in the judicial commission established by the Pakistani Supreme Court to investigate the case. Because of her doubts about the commission`s impartiality, Jehangir refused to appear before it," the letter said.
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