General

Reopening of Memogate case a political stunt: Husain Haqqani

Former ambassador Husain Haqqani has termed the reopening of the Memogate case a political stunt.
On January 29, while hearing a case related to voting rights of overseas Pakistanis, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had summoned details of the Memogate case.
In a statement reported on Monday, Haqqani said there were four chief justices after chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry but none touched the case, adding that six years ago a nine-member bench had heard the case and wondered why just a three-member bench is taking it up now.
“It has been six years since I submitted a review petition to correct legal mistakes in the case. Will the court hear this case too?” he wondered.
Moreover, in a likely reference to Chief Justice Nisar, Haqqani claimed he will not come to Pakistan on “Baba Rehamtay’s” direction, as his orders do not extend beyond Pakistan.
The Memogate scandal erupted in 2011 when Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz claimed to have received an ‘anti-army’ memo from Haqqani, the then-envoy to US, for the then-US joint chiefs chairman Admiral Mike Mullen.
The scandal, taken to the Supreme Court by then opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and several others, had led to Haqqani’s resignation.
During the Jan 29 hearing, the chief justice remarked that the purpose of the proceedings was to give the right of vote to overseas Pakistanis. He added that there are some Pakistanis who promised the court to show up but did not return.
Inquiring into the whereabouts of Haqqani, the chief justice asked if he will also be given a right to cast a vote.
“Why don’t we issue him a notice and summon him to face the Memogate case,” the chief justice remarked. He then directed the registrar office to take out the Memogate case file and submit it in court.
Later, the apex court set February 8 as the date when a three-member bench headed by the chief justice and comprising Justices Ijazul Ahsan and Umar Ata Bandial will hear the case.
Haqqani and the Memogate case
In September last year, Haqqani said “Memogate was just media noise, which is why the case has never been decided by the Supreme Court. That it disrupted lives without a conclusion is a sad reflection on how things work in Pakistan. I have moved on”.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, in March 2017, called for a parliamentary commission to investigate Haqqani’s claims in a Washington Post op-ed that his ‘close ties’ with the US enabled the bin Laden raid.
Asif also stated that the former envoy had left Pakistan on the promise that he would return, but never did.
Following the article’s publication and subsequent media uproar, the PPP also accused Haqqani of “treason and maligning the country’s armed forces at the behest of anti-Pakistan elements”.
Most recently, on January 21, media reports stated that three FIRs were registered against Haqqani in two police stations of Kohat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for delivering hate speeches and writing against the armed forces and sovereignty of Pakistan.
The memo sent by Haqqani allegedly mentioned a possible army coup in Pakistan following the US raid in Abbottabad to kill Osama bin Laden.
It sought assistance from the US for the then-Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government for ‘reigning in the military and intelligence agencies’.
A judicial commission tasked to probe the case had concluded that the memo was authentic and authored by the former envoy.
The commission said the purpose of the memo was to convince American officials that Pakistan’s civilian government was ‘pro-US’.