ISLAMABAD/WASHINGTON - With the Memo Commission report accusing former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani of being its author, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Haqqani to appear before the court on the next date of hearing and respond to the findings recorded by the commission.
As the nine-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry resumed hearing of the petition regarding the memo allegedly written to US Admiral Mike Mullen by Husain Haqqani, the court shared the findings of the Memo Commission.
The court in its order stated that in view of the commission’s findings, prima facie it seemed that Haqqani had to answer about the findings recorded by the commission. The court also issued notices to all respondents for appearing on the next date of hearing and directed the authorities to make the Memo Commission’s report public. The findings of the report submitted by the Memo Commission stated that it had been incontrovertibly established that the memorandum was authentic and Haqqani was its originator and architect. The report also authenticated that Haqqani sought American help; he wanted to create a niche for himself; making himself forever indispensable to the Americans.
He lost sight of the fact that he was a Pakistani citizen and Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, and therefore his loyalty could only be to Pakistan, the report said. The report added that Haqqani offered his services as part of a proposed “national security team” to a foreign government voicing “great fears” that “Pakistan’s nuclear assets were now legitimate targets” and seeking to bring “Pakistan’s nuclear assets under a more verifiable, transparent regime”. The report added that the memo said the ISI maintained “relations with the Taliban” and Haqqani offering to “eliminate Section S of the ISI and to help ‘pigeonhole the forces lined up against your interests” were acts of disloyalty to Pakistan that contravened the constitution. The report said the purpose of the memorandum was to show that the civilian government was friends with the US, but needed to be strengthened to prevail upon the army and intelligence agencies and to be able to do so, American help was required to set up a civilian national security team, headed by Haqqani. The report said the memo commission was constituted in pursuance of a judicial order passed by the court; its final conclusion and findings had also been read over by the attorney general, therefore, formally it was directed to make the report public.
The report added that there could be no two views that terrorism must be contested, terrorists fought, nuclear proliferation opposed, civilians (and not the military) determine foreign policy and the ship of state guided by civilian hands at the helm. However, what was not acceptable was that Pakistan’s ambassador beseeched a foreign government with impunity to meddle in and run our affairs.
“We may observe that Haqqani has chosen not to live in Pakistan, has been working in USA, where he appeared to have made his life, held no property or asset in Pakistan, held no money (save a paltry amount) in a Pakistani bank, but despite having no obvious ties to Pakistan was appointed to the extremely sensitive position of Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, and in addition to being paid a salary and accompanying emoluments was handed a largesse of over an amount of two million dollars a year”.
Meanwhile, Husain Haqqani called the report “political and one-sided” and said his lawyers would address the legal flaws of the process relating to the creation and proceedings of the commission before the Supreme Court.
“The commission’s report has been released to distract attention from other more embarrassing developments,” he said, alluding to the allegations relating to the chief justice’s son Arsalan Chaudhry. Haqqani said he had nothing to do with the memo and the commission might have come to a different conclusion if it had heard him out, which it did not. “The entire proceeding reflected the political machination of ideological elements including the judiciary and had little to do with fact finding,” he added.
“The Commission has based its findings on the claims of one man, a foreigner, and dubious records presented by him, which were reinforced by an equally dubious exercise termed as forensics. Just as a reliable post-mortem examination of a dead body cannot be carried out at the home of a doctor of someone’s choice, it was absurd to call showing the accuser’s electronic devices to an expert of his choice at the Pakistan High Commission in London a forensic examination.”
He said the memo issue had been based on newspaper clippings and the SC had created the commission amid an orchestrated media campaign against him.
Haqqani said the SC “cannot act as a trial court and must not abuse its authority as the court of final appeal to divert attention from the embarrassment of its politicised leadership”.
Haqqani said while he continued to respect the judiciary, he refused to let his patriotism judged by those who had endorsed martial law regimes and had even given the right to military dictators to amend the constitution.