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Memogate: Mullen throws Husain Haqqani under the bus

Related posts: A critical analysis of Husain Haqqani vs Mansoor Ijaz saga

Express Tribune must not distort facts about Husain Haqqani

Mansoor Ijaz saga: An example of media mismanagement by PPP

Adm. Michael Mullen has exclusively confirmed to The Cable (Foreign Policy blog) the existence of a secret memo that the former Joint Chiefs chairman had earlier not recollected receiving. This effectively vindicates Mansoor Ijaz’s position and is a dramatic development for all those writers who were attacking Ijaz’s credibility and the existence of such a memo.

Mullen’s spokesman Capt. John Kirby told The Cable today that Mullen now acknowledges that the Ijaz memo does exist, that he did receive it. “Adm. Mullen had no recollection of the memo and no relationship with Mr. Ijaz. After the original article appeared on Foreign Policy‘s website, he felt it incumbent upon himself to check his memory. He reached out to others who he believed might have had knowledge of such a memo, and one of them was able to produce a copy of it,” Kirby said.

In the words of a Pakistani columnist Cyril Almeida (via Twitter), Mullen has thrown Husain Haqqani under the bus.

Earlier Wednesday, on the floor of Pakistan’s National Assembly, Prime Minister Gilani publicly confirmed that Haqqani had been summoned to Islamabad to explain his position on the memo. “Whether he’s ambassador or not, he has to come to Islamabad to explain his position,” Gilani said.

In an interview late on Wednesday afternoon, Washington time, Haqqani confirmed to The Cable that he will travel to Islamabad and has sent a letter to Zardari offering his resignation.

According to news reports, Haqqani has decided to stay for some days in Washington after being asked by the government to travel to Islamabad for a briefing on Pakistan-US relations. Haqqani, it has been reported, is keenly monitoring the evolving situation as he knows that the army leadership has placed him at the centre stage of the memo controversy and his continuation as the Pakistani envoy in Washington is not a desirable option for Pakistan army. One option that is being discussed in Islamabad among the ruling circles and the military leaders is to replace Ambassador Haqqani by Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir.

Ambassador Haqqani found himself in the eye of the storm when Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz came up with his ‘revelations’ about Pakistan’s civilian government’s alleged endeavours to reach out to the Obama administration to stop the army from a coup in the wake of the US raid that killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 2. Ijaz claimed that he was asked to contact the US administration by a senior Pakistani official. He did not name Ambassador Haqqani but the military authorities are said to have concluded that the current Pakistani envoy in Washington was the official who came in contact with Ijaz. The Presidency and the Foreign Office denied Ijaz’s claims, saying no such memo or letter was sent to the US administration. However, with Mullen’s confirmation of the receipt of memo, Husain Haqqani’s role has become relatively clearer.

Husain Haqqani’s effectiveness or not as an ambassador is not the issue. Apparently he overplayed a hand in the aftermath of the Abbottabad operation, but left flanks open. Mansoor Ijaz was never ‘trusted’ in real sense, and was used precisely because he is easily dismissed as credible (see his interview with Sana Bucha in which he offers the exact same reason). Plausible deniability was a possible consideration by using non-official as intermediary.

But Ijaz’s Financial Times piece was quite unexpected. One possible reason for it could be his personal desire for fame, or that in his passion for international sanctions on ISI, he could not consider the fall out of his reference to the memo. It is, however, a fact that Ijaz didn’t actually make the memo bit the focus. His article was clearly focused on the unholy and ongoing role of ISI in supporting and facilitating the Taliban-AQ activities. That part of the article is very hard to disagree with.

However, Ijaz perhaps did not realize the flare up his reference to memo might cause. Later on, with personal attacks on his credibility by some personal friends and flatterers of Husain Haqqani (e.g. some specimens here: https://lubpak.net/archives/62645), he became indignant and shared everything with Pakistani agencies, which were of course very interested. Husain Haqqani hoped it would all blow over but in fact he, through his propagandists, utterly mismanaged it through ongoing personal attacks on Mansoor Ijaz. The army availed itself of the opportunity provided by Ijaz and Haqqani. Personal clash between these two individuals also brought shame and discomfort to Zardari and PPP.

There is very remote possibility that the ISI made Ijaz write that article in FT (as suggested by Tarek Fatah, another friend of Haqqani). If ISI already knew about it, would it need Mansoor Ijaz to print an anti-ISI article in a leading international newspaper to trap Haqqani? It’s possible but not probable. Plus it is a bit too unrealistic to expect a long term intricate planning from Pakistani spooks.

In short, the entire Mansoor Ijaz saga was very poorly managed by Husain Haqqani which finally cost him his job and also dented PPP’s relations with almighty army.

Pakistan Today
The Cable
Twitter (Cafe Pyala (last three paragraphs), others)

About the author

Jehangir Hafsi


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  • What you are not nemtioning in your post is involvement of government, that is if president himself or his associates on whose behalf that letter was sent? Or Haqqani was working on his personal agenda and take that bold move alone?
    Mansoor Ijaz is not a credible person at all, why was he involved? is this a conspiracy to end this present government?

  • Nusrat Javeed says

    I also worked very hard to get the rumour confirmed or denied that after playing a dazzling innings as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani was finally being ejected from the scene. After a whole day of chase, I could finally get a source, known for his active contact with the presidency these days. He took my call while travelling to Lahore and only said ‘yes’ to my question in this regard. When pressed for a bit more information he only said: “Such questions are not asked on phone.”
    Another reliable source also gave me an affirmative answer, but seriously believed that instead of being “sacked, Haqqani might be kicked upwards. He can still be KEPT in Islamabad as National Security Adviser under watchful eyes to eventually be pushed to oblivion a la Mehmud Ali Durrani.”
    The fate, this source suggested for Haqqani, seemed plausible, although knowing him a bit I would still prefer wondering as to why he should land in Islamabad, if things here do not look promising and cheerful to him. He is a full tenure professor of the prestigious Boston University and capable of authoring a stunning bestseller while relying on material he had active access to during the highs and lows of Pak-US relations since March 2008.


  • Troika discusses memo issue

    Asim Yasin
    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Wednesday night held an important meeting at the Presidency that presumably focused on Islamabad- Washington diplomatic relations and a memo that was sent to former US admiral Mike Mullen through US businessman Mansoor Ijaz.

    Presidential Spokesman Farhatullah Babar issued a two-line announcement stating that Prime Minister Gilani called on President Zardari at Aiwan-e-Sadr Wednesday night. The statement said General Kayani was also present during the meeting in which the current security situation in the country was discussed. The president also hosted a dinner for the prime minister and chief of army staff.

    On Tuesday, the president and COAS had held a one-on-one meeting at the Presidency in which the memo controversy was reportedly discussed in detail. The president and prime minister have already summoned Pakistan Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani to Islamabad to give a briefing on the issue. In fact, prior to attending the meeting, the prime minister confirmed before the National Assembly that Ambassador Haqqani had been summoned in Islamabad. “Whether he is an ambassador or not, he [Haqqani] has to come and explain the issue to the leadership,” he told parliamentarians.


  • via Twitter

    NasimZehra Nasim Zehra
    Amb HHaqqani represented Pk thru difficult period & worked closely with Pak security institutions.On memo gov not suing FT is trouble 4 HH

    Muscle borrowed from Washington does not help to ensure constitutional compliance by military, competence n credibility of elected gov does.

    All this MUST be contetsed even more tahn it is, but on home-ground. Constitutionally reining in the army thru US wrong.

    such memos dnt help consolidate democracy Pol refusal to play GHQ’s B team & popular consensus agst army rule has.

    Power is distrubuted and to claim their Constitutionally manadated civilians must work to get it. How else?

    Now Mike Mullen says on record that the memo was recieved.One responsble for this memo has committed a blunder against democracy & Pakistan.

    Surely whenever whoever wrote the memo,they believed it was to ensure their own survival.

    Razarumi Raza Rumi
    +1 RT @NasimZehra: @Razarumi C logic of r times,the dynamics of Pak power play,ppl consensus agst it&army dealing wth acute security crisis.

    acorn Nitin Pai
    Mansoor Ijaz was the wrong man for the job. Unless the idea was merely to get rid of Husain Haqqani, Ijaz was a terrible go-between.

    mazdaki Mohammad Taqi
    @Laibaah1 Mansoor Ijaz did ISI’s hatchet job & in the process did PPP & democracy in. Watch it unravel

  • Pakistan’s envoy to US Hussain Haqqani resigns, seeks asylum: Sources

    Hussain Haqqani has sought asylum in United States.

    Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani has resigned and sought asylum in the country, sources told Headlines Today on Thursday.

    Sources said Haqqani has sent in his papers, but his resignation was yet to be accepted. He has been under pressure ever since media reports about a secret memo he wrote surfaced.

    Haqqani has decided not to leave the US, sources said. He has been warned by his friends that if he went back to Pakistan, he would be whisked away on arrival.

    Trouble broke out for Haqqani after reports that he contacted the then US chief of staff Mike Mullen to pass on a message from President Asif Ali Zardari who wanted help from the US to stave off a military takeover.

    Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/pakistan-envoy-hussain-haqqani-united-states-asylum/1/160377.html

  • Secret memo to Adm. Michael Mullen clearly demonstrates the helplessness of Pakistani masses who being besiged unlawfully by the Generals all the time.
    People of Libya demonstrated even ruthless dictators can be kickedout if people come together. Keeping this in mind, probably, Pakistani generals making longterm game plan to hide behind Imran Khan.


    iyaz is a long friend of zardari and is actually very anti pak military and more part of the US Establishment

    lol crazy fake liberals