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Memogate: Is the case against Hussain Haqqani over?


News Analysis |

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has finally wrapped up Memogate scandal and said that state could try Hussain Haqqani under article 6 if it wanted to. According to media reports, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan disposed of the case after none of the petitioners appeared before it. “None of the petitioners have appeared before the court, then why are we wasting our time by sitting here”, Chief Justice Khosa remarked.

Moreover, Justice Khosa asked some questions pertaining to the case and its impacts. “Are the state, constitution, Pakistan army, and democracy so weak that they have been shaken by a memo written by the former ambassador?” the CJP asked.

Justice Khosa also pointed out that the matter was ongoing for the last eight years without reaching to any logical end.  Moreover, he also said that the court had formed a commission to probe the memo and following the commission’s recommendations a first information report (FIR) was registered against Hussain Haqqani. “Once the FIR has been registered, now it’s the state’s matter whether they want to go after the suspect or not,” he clarified.

The commission completed its investigation and found that Haqqani indeed wrote a memo and the underlying purpose was to ensure the United States that the civilian government in Islamabad was her ally.

After the case was wrapped up by the apex court, Mr. Hussain Haqqani took to the twitter and thanked justice Khosa. “#Pakistan Supreme Court finally wraps up so-called Memo case after 8 yrs. CJP says, “Are the state of Pakistan, armed forces, and our Constitution so weak that they can be frightened by a memo?” Also says SC won’t pursue my return. Thank you, Justice Khosa.”

Political commentator Mr. Zahid Hussain lauded the decision and appreciated the court. “Chief Justice Khosa has brought some sanity to the Apex Court. SC wraps up Memogate case, says govt should proceed against Hussain Haqqani if it so wishes”

FIR Registered Against Mr. Haqqani

A treason case was registered against Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani in November last year on the complaint of lawyer Maulvi Iqbal Haider. Mr. Haqqani allegedly conspired against the state during his tenure as ambassador to the USA in 2008.

Read more: Former ambassador Haqqani booked in three FIRs

The FIR mentioned that the former ambassador made some derogatory remarks about Pakistan during an interview in the US. It is stated that Mr. Haqqani’s objectionable remarks have undermined the country’s national security and challenged her sovereignty. “Haqqani deliberately issued venomous remarks on Pakistan, its forces and the Kashmir cause,” read the FIR. Mr. Haqqani has also been held responsible by the complainants for the Memogate scandal and for issuing visas to CIA and Indian agents when he was in the office.

On February 15, 2018, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had issued arrest warrants of Mr. Haqqani and had asked what measures had been taken been taken by the government to bring him back.

Treason Case Against a Former Ambassador

It is alleged that a week after the Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, Mr. Haqqani who was serving as Pakistan’ s ambassador to the United States communicated with a Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz to convey a message to the Americans. The message, allegedly passed on the request of then-president of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari, stated that Pakistan’s military was conspiring to topple the civilian government. Mr. Ijaz, later on, shared all the details in a piece he wrote for the Financial Times in October 2011.

There is also an opinion that the incumbent government should not waste much time and energies on a ‘non-issue’ and focus on reforming the economy and fixing institutions in the country.

It was also mentioned that the message was conveyed to Admiral Michael Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US military. The memo also stated that the military of Pakistan was in a  weak position after the Bin Laden saga and hence there was a “unique window of opportunity” for the Zardari-led PPP government to bring the men-in-uniform in control.

Amidst the controversy, Mr. Haqqani resigned from the ambassadorship but denied all the allegations leveled against him. He came back to Pakistan and was accused of high treason. The government initiated a parliamentary investigation to probe into the matter. The Supreme Court of Pakistan, however, ordered to form a judicial commission on the basis of a petition filed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Haqqani was earlier not allowed to leave the country but later on, the SC allowed him to go abroad.

Read more: Hussain Haqqani to be brought back through US State Dept

The commission completed its investigation and found that Haqqani indeed wrote a memo and the underlying purpose was to ensure the United States that the civilian government in Islamabad was her ally. It was also claimed in the report that the former ambassador was not loyal to Pakistan.

Is the Case Over?

Political commentators and experts discussed Mr. Haqqani’s case and the fundamental question was; is the case really over? But the dominant opinion was that the case is not over rather the government has been given the task to proceed the case if it wishes to. It clearly implies that the difficulties for Mr. Haqqani are not over since the incumbent government is reluctant to make any deal with any political opponent in the country. Therefore, experts believe the PTI-led government may go after Mr. Haqqani.

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

There is also an opinion that the incumbent government should not waste much time and energies on a ‘non-issue’ and focus on reforming the economy and fixing institutions in the country. Mr. Haqqani is said to be an America’s ‘favorite child’ and the US will never help Pakistan in getting him back to Pakistan since it will convey a negative message to pro-America thinkers and politicians in the country. Political observers maintain that the case is not over but the case is likely to remain in pipelines now since it has nothing much to be pursued immediately.

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