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Probe commission finds Haqqani behind the memo seeking US support against Pakistan's powerful army

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Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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A judicial probe commission has found that Husain Haqqani, the sacked Pakistan's ambassador to US, is the author of the secret memo to Admiral Mike Mullen seeking US help for removing the top military leadership in Pakistan. The memo commission's report submitted in the Supreme Court Tuesday stated that Haqqani, was not loyal to the country and that the memo seeking US support was indeed real and authored by Haqqani.

The commission was appointed in December last to probe the alleged memo which was published in its entirety on Foreign Policy magazine's website on November 17. The memo was addressed to Michael Mullen, and requested the Obama administration to convey a "strong, urgent and direct message to the Army Chief of Staff General Kayani and the spy agency ISI chief Lt. General Ahmad Shuja Pasha" to "end their brinkmanship aimed at bringing down the civilian apparatus." "Civilians cannot withstand much more of the hard pressure being delivered from the Army to succumb to wholesale changes," the memo said.

The memogate scandal started when Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz revealed last year of having received a message from Haqqani to deliver a confidential memo to Admiral Mike Mullen, regarding a possible military takeover in the aftermath of US operation in Abbottabad that allegedly killed Osama Bin Laden.

The Ambassador was recalled from Washington in November last. He appeared before President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI chief Shuja Pasha   to explain his position about the memo. Since neither the fact that the memo was sent nor its contents were any longer in doubt, Haqqani was asked to quit.

The commission said that the memo was not a farce, but a reality. The report pointed out that the motive of the memo was to ensure the US that the civilian government of Pakistan is its ally. The report stated that being an ambassador, it did not "suit" Haqqani to give such assurances to a foreign country.

The Supreme Court ordered that the report be made public and constituted a nine-member bench to hear the Memogate scandal.

The report said that Haqqani violated the country's constitution, adding that while Haqqani was earning a salary paid by the government, his loyalties were not with Pakistan. The former ambassador chose not to stay in Pakistan, the report said, adding that neither did Haqqani have any property in the country, nor did he have any bank balance.

The commission moreover said that the purpose of writing the memo was to convince American authorities that Pakistan's civilian government was US-friendly and that it was only the civilian setup that could control the expansion of Pakistan's nuclear work. The report also stated that through the memo, Haqqani wanted to convince the US over the formation of a new security team and that he wanted to head the team himself.

The confidential memo in part said:

In the event Washington's direct intervention behind the scenes can be secured through your personal communication with Kayani (he will likely listen only to you at this moment) to stand down the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment, the new national security team is prepared, with full backing of the civilian apparatus, to do the following:

1. President of Pakistan will order an independent inquiry into the allegations that Pakistan harbored and offered assistance to UBL and other senior Qaeda operatives. The White House can suggest names of independent investigators to populate the panel, along the lines of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, for example.

2. The inquiry will be accountable and independent, and result in findings of tangible value to the US government and the American people that identify with exacting detail those elements responsible for harboring and aiding UBL inside and close to the inner ring of influence in Pakistan's Government (civilian, intelligence directorates and military). It is certain that the UBL Commission will result in immediate termination of active service officers in the appropriate government offices and agencies found responsible for complicity in assisting UBL.

3. The new national security team will implement a policy of either handing over those left in the leadership of Al Qaeda or other affiliated terrorist groups who are still on Pakistani soil, including Ayman Al Zawahiri, Mullah Omar and Sirajuddin Haqqani, or giving US military forces a "green light" to conduct the necessary operations to capture or kill them on Pakistani soil.

4. One of the great fears of the military-intelligence establishment is that with your stealth capabilities to enter and exit Pakistani airspace at will, Pakistan's nuclear assets are now legitimate targets. The new national security team is prepared, with full backing of the Pakistani government -- initially civilian but eventually all three power centers -- to develop an acceptable framework of discipline for the nuclear program. This effort was begun under the previous military regime, with acceptable results. We are prepared to reactivate those ideas and build on them in a way that brings Pakistan's nuclear assets under a more verifiable, transparent regime.

5. The new national security team will eliminate Section S of the ISI charged with maintaining relations to the Taliban, Haqqani network, etc. This will dramatically improve relations with Afghanistan.

6. We are prepared to cooperate fully under the new national security team's guidance with the Indian government on bringing all perpetrators of Pakistani origin to account for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, whether outside government or inside any part of the government, including its intelligence agencies. This includes handing over those against whom sufficient evidence exists of guilt to the Indian security services.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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