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Bring back Hussain Haqqani, CJ tells NAB

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News Analysis |

Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday has directed National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to take steps for bringing back Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani. During the hearing of Memogate scandal, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan said he had been told that Haqqani could not be brought back to the country under the law of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

The FIA had previously been tasked to bring back Haqqani for trial. Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar remarked that the absconding former Ambassador had submitted an affidavit in the court regarding his return. However, he didn’t come to attend the hearing despite assurance, he added.

Haqqani had left Pakistan on January 3, 2013, after assuring the court that he would return on a four-day notice. He, however, did not return and on June 4, 2013, the court had directed the government to bring him back.

According to ‘amicus curiae’ (friend of the court) and former interim law minister Ahmer Bilal Soofi, NAB has agreements with the UN Security Council to extradite citizens like Haqqani that are evading trial.

The apex court ordered the parliament to legislate on extradition agreements with foreign countries within a month. While giving NAB the task to bring back the former ambassador, the bench also ordered it to submit a written reply in one week about steps it will take to bring Haqqani to Pakistan. The hearing was adjourned for a week.

Read more: Why Hussain Haqqani is considered a traitor by Pakistanis?

The Memogate controversy (also Mullen memo controversy) revolves around a memorandum (addressed to Admiral Mike Mullen) allegedly drafted by Haqqani at the behest of former president Asif Ali Zardari, ostensibly seeking help of the Obama administration in the wake of the Osama bin Laden raid to avert a military takeover of the civilian government in Pakistan.. The Osama Bin Laden raid had strained Civil-military and Pak-US relations.

Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan said he had been told that Haqqani could not be brought back to the country under the law of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The FIA had previously been tasked to bring back Haqqani for trial.

The memo was delivered in May 2011. Then President Asif Ali Zardari had termed the allegations as “a conspiracy against the Zardari government”, further stating that he did not need intermediaries to convey messages since he had “direct access” to the president of the United States.

Read more: Joint Parliamentary Commission be formed to investigate Hussain Haqqani & PPP…

Haqqani was criticised by the Pakistani parliament for his column in The Washington Post in which he had written that he had helped US forces in eliminating al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden when the government and the Inter-Services Intelligence had been kept in the dark about the secret operation. Charges brought against the ex-envoy include criminal conspiracy and waging a war against Pakistan.

Haqqani had left Pakistan on January 3, 2013, after assuring the court that he would return on a four-day notice. He, however, did not return and on June 4, 2013, the court had directed the government to bring him back.

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