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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ambassador Haqqani 'removed', put in the dock


Haqqani, the Pakistani ambassador to the United States, was questioned by the top civil and military leadership at the President House. President Zardari, PM Gilani, COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI DG Gen Shujaa Pasha attended the grilling session that lasted for hours. Sources said Haqqani was questioned about every aspect of the memo scandal. The questions asked were prepared by the military top brass at a high-level meeting yesterday, sources said. Addressing the media after the questioning at the President House, Hussain Haqqani said that he has tendered his resignation as he doesn’t want to be a stumbling block to the continuation of democracy in the country. Sources said that his resignation has been accepted. However, official account in this regard is yet to come. The relevant companies would be contacted regarding Blackberry and computer record of Haqqani as part of inquiry against him, sources said. "The Prime Minister asked Pakistan Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani to submit his resignation," Gilani s spokesman said in a statement, adding that the government had ordered a "detailed investigation" into the issue. Haqqani has offered to resign over the row, but has denied any involvement with the document. The spokesman said, "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". "As a result of controversy generated by the alleged memo which had been drafted, formulated and further admitted to have been received by authority in the US, it has become necessary in national interest to formally arrive at the actual and true facts". The alleged memo was revealed last month by American businessman Mansoor Ijaz. In an opinion piece in the UK s Financial Times on October 10, Ijaz wrote that a "senior Pakistani diplomat" telephoned him in May soon after bin Laden s death, urging him to deliver a message to the White House bypassing Pakistan s military and intelligence chiefs. "The president feared a military takeover was imminent" and "needed an American fist on his army chief s desk to end any misguided notions of a coup -- and fast," he wrote. He said a memo was delivered to Mullen on May 10, offering that a "new national security team" would end relations between Pakistani intelligence and Afghan militants, namely the Taliban and its Haqqani faction. Meanwhile, Haqqani called for a transparent inquiry into the controversy to strengthen the hands of elected Pakistani leadership. "A transparent inquiry will strengthen the hands of elected leaders whom I strived to strengthen," he said in a message sent to reporters in Islamabad on Tuesday. He said,"to me, Pakistan and Pakistan s democracy are far more important than any artificially created crisis over an insignificant memo written by a self-centred businessman." "I have served Pakistan to the best of my ability and will continue to do so."

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