Memogate: Husain Haqqani summoned to Islamabad

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said he sought an explanation from Husain Haqqani over the secret memo.

Washington: Amid a raging political storm
back home, Pakistan`s envoy to the US Husain Haqqani has left
for Islamabad, where he would explain his position with regard
to the controversy over a secret memorandum in which his
country`s civilian leadership purportedly sought American help
to stave off a possible military takeover.

Before leaving for Islamabad, Haqqani met Special US
Representative for Af-Pak region Marc Grossman at the State
Department and the issue of the memo is believed to have been
discussed.

"On way to motherland Pakistan," Haqqani tweeted last
night after his meeting with Grossman.

The Pakistani Ambassador had offered to resign after a
secret memo purportedly written by him on behalf of President
Asif Ali Zardari was delivered to Admiral Mike Mullen, the
then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, by an eminent
Pakistani-American businessman, days after Osama bin Laden was
killed in a US raid in Abbottabad.

Haqqani has strongly denied that he had anything do with
that memo, which is now doing the rounds of the media domain.

In the secret memo, Zardari purportedly sought Mullen`s
assistance against a possible military takeover and talked
about creating a new national security team.

After initial reluctance, Mullen has acknowledged having
received such a memo, but says he did not act on it and did
not take it seriously.

Pentagon Press Secretary George Little yesterday told
reporters Defence Secretary Leon Panetta is aware of the
issues related to the memo.

However, he said that "no review" has been ordered when
asked why the serious allegations in the memo were ignored by
the office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Meanwhile, the State Department termed the issue as an
internal matter of Pakistan and refrained from making any
comment on it.

"I understand this is a big story in Pakistan. It`s
partly a domestic story. We all treat it as such. We remain in
contact with Ambassador Haqqani," State Department spokesman
Mark Toner said.

"Our understanding is that he (Haqqani) is still the
Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, and we continue
to have regular interactions with him, as we do with a number
of people both within the Pakistani government," Toner said in
response to a question.

Haqqani yesterday met Grossman, during which it is
believed that the issue of memo did come up.

No readout of the meeting was immediately available.
Grossman said that he had not seen the memo until it
became public.

Pakistan`s ruling PPP yesterday decided that Haqqani
would be given a "fair opportunity" to explain his position
with regard to the controversy over the secret memorandum.

Separately, Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani denied Zardari`s
involvement in the matter and also said his government was
committed to protecting military institutions like ISI.

He said Haqqani had been called to Islamabad to provide
an explanation on the memorandum.

According to a State Department official, Ambassador
Grossman said that he had never seen the memo before it was
made public.

He referenced the statement of Admiral Mullen’s
spokesperson that Admiral Mullen did receive a letter from
Mansoor Ijaz but that "he did not find it at all credible and
took no note of it then or later. Therefore, he addressed it
with no one", the official said.

PTI

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