Editor’s note: LUBP expresses concern over Pakistani judiciary’s biased decision (under the influence of Pakistan army) against Husain Haqqani (former Pakistan Ambassador to the U.S.). Not only did the memo commission violate its jurisdiction by issuing the label of traitor but it also confirmed the accusations about its neutrality and integrity. The timing of the commission’s report is also quite interesting as it seems to divert public attention from the graft scandal involving Pakistan’s controversial Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and his son Dr. Arsalan Chaudhry. According to noted lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir, the memo commission acted in two capacities — complainant and adjudicator. The inquiry report should have been shown to the counsel of the parties before it was presented to the Supreme Court. The commission declared that Mr Haqqani had forced Mansoor Ijaz to write the memo, but failed to establish any evidence to the effect. This shows that the commission was totally prejudiced and the report has exposed it. Ms Jahangir strongly objected to the fixing in haste of the Haqqani case for hearing. We wonder whether the purpose of doing so was to divert the attention of the media (from the Cheief Justice Family Gate saga). The timing also suggests that judiciary’s token activism on illegal abductions and murders in Balochistan by Pakistan army is nothing more than an eye-wash. The 3-Jeem Mafia (Jenerals, Judges, Journalists) remains united against democratic government and its various components and supporters. The memo commission recorded Mr Ijaz’s evidence through video conference but denied the same facility to Mr Haqqani. Clearly, such manoeuvring and double standards do not boost judiciary’s sanctity. It is pertinent to recall that that in the past ANP leader Khan Abdul Wali Khan and poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz too were declared traitors by Pakistani establishment and judiciary, an opinion which was overwhelmingly rejected by the people of Pakistan. Below we are cross-posting an important article by Husain Haqqani in which he explains his real crime, i.e., standing up for U.S.-Pakistan relations and for a Pakistan ruled by a civilian-led government. Mr. Haqqani writes about the memo and we agree: “Many people around the world would recognize that its contents suggesting changes in Pakistan’s counterterrorism and nuclear policies reflect reasonable views that are not treasonous and are, in fact, in line with global thinking.”
I am saddened but not surprised that a Pakistani judicial inquiry commission has accused me of being disloyal while serving as my country’s ambassador to the United States. The tide of anti-Americanism has been rising in Pakistan for almost a decade. An overwhelming majority of Pakistanis consider the United States an enemy, notwithstanding the nominal alliance that has existed between our countries for six decades. Americans, frustrated by what they see as Pakistani intransigence in fighting terrorism in Afghanistan, are becoming less willing to accept Pakistani demands even though Pakistan has suffered heavily at the hands of terrorists.
This is a difficult time to openly advocate friendly relations between the United States and Pakistan. I am proud that I did so as ambassador. During my tenure, the United States agreed to initiate a strategic dialogue with Pakistani civil and military leaders. The idea was to overcome the episodic nature of bilateral relations: Our countries had a pattern of working together for a few years and then falling out amid complaints about each other. The strategic dialogue sought to reconcile Pakistan’s regional concerns about Afghanistan and India with U.S. global concerns about nuclear proliferation and terrorism. But the dialogue stalled last year, and a series of unfortunate incidents, culminating in Osama bin Laden being found in Pakistan last May, has brought our countries to the brink of an adversarial relationship.
My sincere efforts to transcend the parallel narratives that have shaped U.S.-Pakistani relations were not always appreciated in Pakistan, where conspiracy theories and hatred for the United States have become a daily staple of the national discourse. My detractors in Pakistan’s security services and among pro-Jihadi groups have long accused me of being pro-American; they condescendingly described me as the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan based in Washington. Falsehoods were circulated in Pakistani media about my issuing thousands of visas to “CIA spies” who would allegedly act with impunity against my country. Few considered that Pakistan was pledged record amounts of U.S. aid and that Pakistani views were being heard on a range of issues. The expectation that Washington should simply do whatever the Pakistani hyper-nationalists desire remains unrealistic.
I resigned last November after an American businessman of Pakistani origin — now residing in Monaco — claimed that I had asked him to deliver a secret memo to Adm. Michael Mullen, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, seeking U.S. help in thwarting a military coup right after the U.S. operation that killed bin Laden. The affair was dubbed “Memogate” by the Pakistani media. Our Supreme Court, pursuing a populist ideological agenda without regard to legal or constitutional niceties, intervened directly. Without any trial, it barred me from leaving Pakistan and created a Commission of Inquiry.
This week the commission presented its findings. It alleged that I had acted against Pakistan’s interests and had authorized the controversial memo. The report’s release has been timed to distract attention from serious allegations by a Pakistani businessman that he paid millions to the son of Pakistan’s chief justice as part of efforts to buy favors.
How ironic that Pakistani hard-liners claim I was an American agent of influence with access in Washington’s power corridors. Were that true, there would have been no reason for me to seek help, certainly not from a businessman of dubious credentials, to deliver a message to the U.S. government. The one-sided “evidence” has failed to prove my connection to the memo. I have not been charged or tried — though the report could lead to charges, and a treason conviction carries the death penalty. No, I was simply labeled guilty by a “fact-finding” commission that bent over backward to accommodate my discredited accuser.
The commission’s bias was clear in its refusal to hear from me via videoconference — a request I made in light of security threats — and its disinterest in seeking the testimony of U.S. officials who received the controversial memo, Mullen and Gen. Jim Jones. Notably, Jones said in a sworn affidavit that I had nothing to do with the document that had been transmitted to him and that the memo reflected the ideas of its author, the American businessman Mansoor Ijaz.
The commission’s findings are motivated by politics, not law. I served Pakistan sincerely. Most people in Washington saw and know that. Branding me a traitor will not solve any of Pakistan’s myriad problems, not least of which is the prospect of international isolation. The 2012 BBC Globescan poll found that the international perception of Pakistan is as bad as that of Iran and North Korea.
It is tragic that anti-Americanism is being exploited to push ideological agendas, but I stand by my view that positive U.S.-Pakistan relations under a civilian-led Pakistani government are necessary for international peace and Pakistan’s stability. My real “crime” is standing up for U.S.-Pakistan relations for Pakistan’s sake. I had nothing to do with writing and sending that memo. But many people around the world would recognize that its contents suggesting changes in Pakistan’s counterterrorism and nuclear policies reflect reasonable views that are not treasonous and are, in fact, in line with global thinking. (Source: Washington Post)