Ridiculous to link Pak Prez to `memogate`: Khar

Last Updated: Saturday, November 26, 2011 - 21:06

Islamabad: Admitting that the `memogate`
scandal has raised questions on the strength of Pakistan`s
civilian government and the influence wielded by the powerful
military, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said it was
"ridiculous" to link President Asif Ali Zardari to the
controversial note.

"Sadly it does. I cannot deny that, and that`s an
unfortunate part that something as ludicrous as this could
raise more questions.
"It doesn`t take much to be able to raise those
questions," Khar said in an interview with BBC.

She was responding to a query about the `memogate`
controversy raising questions about the strength of the
civilian government and the impression that the military is
pulling the levers of power in Pakistan.

Pakistan`s envoy to the US, Husain Haqqani, was forced to
resign after being linked to a secret memo that was delivered
to the American military by controversial Pakistan-American
businessman Mansoor Ijaz.

Haqqani has denied that he played any role in drafting the
memo.

The memo, made public by Ijaz, sought US help to prevent a
military takeover in Pakistan in the wake of the American
military raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May.
It also claimed the Pakistan government would carry out a
national security revamp by rooting out military and
intelligence officials with links to militants.

Asked if President Asif Ali Zardari would survive if he
was linked to the scandal, Khar said: "I cannot even answer
that question because it is ridiculous...to associate him with
this particular memo".

Khar said the Pakistan government would conduct an inquiry
"at the highest level" into the controversy to satisfy "all
parties, all people, all constituencies who have raised
concern about this entire issue".

She added: "We would hope that this is where it should and
will stop".

Khar said it was "not yet clear" that Haqqani "had any
role to play" in the matter. "He was asked to resign so the
inquiry process could be transparent and that is something
that should be appreciated."

In response to another question, Khar said Pakistan had
not arranged any more meetings between the Haqqani terrorist
network and US officials except one meeting that was held
earlier this year.

"Pakistan cannot guarantee anything (with regard to the
Haqqani network). We have said this very clearly. We can play
a positive role but it has to be at the request of the
Afghans," she said.

Khar further said she was not worried about the risk of
the US administration cutting off aid for Pakistan.

"Let me just say clearly that we over project the
dependency syndrome of Pakistan on US assistance. We could do
without it.

"If the feeling in the US Congress is that we have done
too much for Pakistan, the feeling in the Pakistani parliament
is that you`ve done too less," she contended.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, November 26, 2011 - 21:06

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