Memogate aimed at sowing seeds of discord: Haqqani

Pakistan`s envoy to the US, Husain Haqqani, is at the centre of a controversy over a secret memo.

Last Updated: Nov 22, 2011, 14:47 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan`s envoy to the US, Husain Haqqani, at the centre of a controversy over a secret memo allegedly sent to the Obama administration, has said he believes the issue was raised to pit the civilian and military leadership here against each other and sow seeds of discord.

Haqqani has been in the midst of a storm since Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz made the memo public.

Ijaz has claimed he drafted the memo on Haqqani`s instructions and delivered it through former US National Security Advisor Jim Jones to the then American military chief Admiral Mike Mullen in May.

Insisting that he had played no role in drafting the memo, Haqqani said: "His (Ijaz`s) entire harangue is aimed at pitting the civil and military administrations against each other and sowing the seeds of discord."

Haqqani told The News daily that he had worked hard to cultivate better Pakistan-US relations and was prepared to undergo any investigation and face any charges in connection with the memo.

Haqqani said he was prepared to sue Ijaz in a court of law.

He further said he was mentally prepared to be relieved of his job and has decided to voluntarily say goodbye to his position as ambassador.

He said he had not been keen to serve in the past and neither did he want to do so today.

The document made public by Ijaz stated that the Pakistan government wanted US assistance to prevent a possible military takeover in the aftermath of the American military raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.

However, Haqqani said some people considered his opinions wrong because they had an "anti-American bent of mind".

He said he loved Pakistan while Ijaz was talking about "teaching Pakistan a lesson".

Haqqani questioned whether it was fair to point fingers at him and "give credence to the accusations of someone who wanted to teach Pakistan a lesson and to dub its army and ISI terrorist organisations".

He contended that Ijaz`s "tenor was anti-Pakistan".

Haqqani said even if all of Ijaz`s claims were correct, the businessman still had no answer to the question of why he had disclosed a secret document.

He asked the media to consider why a non-entity like Ijaz, whom no one from the media had ever met, was now giving several interviews a day.

"If Mansoor Ijaz is so important why has no American channel bothered to interview him and why are all his efforts aimed at stoking psychological warfare against the people of Pakistan?" Haqqani asked.

"I have been involved in politics since my student days. I was always attracted by democracy. My thinking may have changed but the heart never changed. It beats only for Pakistan," he added.

Meanwhile, Ijaz has started changing his stand and claimed President Asif Ali Zardari had no role in the memo controversy.

He told the media that he had no evidence to certify that Zardari authorised the memo or that he had detailed discussion with Haqqani on the issue.

Haqqani is expected to meet Pakistan`s political and military leadership today to explain his position on the controversial secret memorandum.

He will clarify his position during a meeting likely to be held at the presidency.

President Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Pervaz Kayani and ISI head Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha are expected to attend the meeting.

The meeting was to be held yesterday but was rescheduled as Gilani had to be present at events celebrating his son`s marriage in Lahore.

The government called Haqqani back to explain his position even as political parties, including the main opposition PML-N, demanded a probe into the matter.

However, the opposition did not raise the issue during yesterday`s session of the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament.

`The News` quoted its sources as saying that two major decisions were expected after today`s meeting between the leadership and Haqqani - action on the envoy`s offer to resign and the institution of a commission to probe the controversy.

The mode of the probe was being debated, the sources said.

"We have to figure out if we want an inquiry by technical experts or a parliamentary and judicial probe," an unnamed insider was quoted as saying.

However, the daily quoted sources close to the Presidency and the Prime Minister`s House as saying that there was no need for a high-level inquiry into the issue as it would be settled by technical experts.

Haqqani`s wife Farahnaz Isphani told the media yesterday that she and her husband wanted "an investigation" into the matter and were ready to cooperate in a forensic probe of his Blackberry phone and computer.

PTI