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Rediff.com  » News » Haqqani asked me to deliver Zardari's SOS to US: Ijaz

Haqqani asked me to deliver Zardari's SOS to US: Ijaz

November 18, 2011 14:31 IST

Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz has said that Pakistan's Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani was the official who asked him to deliver a secret memorandum on behalf of President Asif Ali Zardari seeking help from the Obama administration to prevent a possible military takeover.

Ijaz has stirred hornet's nest in Pakistan's political and diplomatic circles by claiming that he sent the memorandum through an intermediary to then US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen in May.

Ijaz had earlier said he acted after he was approached by a senior official close to President Asif Ali Zardari, who feared a military coup in the aftermath of the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden on May 2.

The controversial businessman told the Dawn newspaper that Haqqani was the previously unnamed official who asked him to deliver the memorandum to Mullen.

Ijaz said he decided to disclose the contents of the document because he was offended by attacks in the Pakistani media on Mullen who, he claimed, was Pakistan's "truest friend".

Haqqani has already denied that he had played any role in drafting or delivering the memorandum, which committed the Pakistan government to take action against Al Qaeda leaders and perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks based on Pakistani soil.

"Yes, Ambassador Husain Haqqani, whom I have known for over 10 years, was indeed the senior Pakistani diplomat who asked me to assist him in privately delivering his message to Admiral Mullen," Ijaz said talking about the memo, a copy of which PTI has obtained.

"And I have clear evidence in my Blackberry messages that he not only did everything in his persuasive, sometimes friendly intimidation, style to keep the entire saga under wraps, he actively -- in my view -- attempted to and did indeed orchestrate denials from each official body that mattered.

"When the Foreign Office denial didn't work, he tried the presidency with a stronger rebuttal," he said.

Ijaz claimed Haqqani even got an "unsuspecting and unwitting" Mullen to deny the existence of the document.

"Admiral Mullen, honest man that he is, went back and checked and found out the truth, and duly issued a clarification stating the truth," he said.

"Obviously, there were a lot of people in Pakistan -- including the army chief, the ISI chief and the Prime Minister – whom he (Haqqani) did not take into confidence on this matter," Ijaz said.

He further contended that Haqqani was "entirely responsible to the last word for the content of the memorandum".

Ijaz released details of his purported Blackberry conversations with Haqqani to the Pakistani media on Friday to buttress his claims.

Haqqani has been called by the Pakistan government to Islamabad to explain his position on the issue.

The envoy said on Thursday that he intended to return to Pakistan in a day or two.

Haqqani has also offered to resign in a letter sent to President Zardari.

The government is yet to decide on this offer, presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said on Thursday

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