Pakistan court summons former US ambassador
Published Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Pakistan's ex-ambassador to Washington was on Tuesday summoned by the country's top court after judges held him responsible for seeking US help to curb the power of the military after Osama bin Laden's death.
The Supreme Court in December ordered a judicial commission to investigate an unsigned document received on 10 May 2011 by the then US top military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, just days after bin Laden was killed in Pakistan.
Husain Haqqani, who was forced to resign as ambassador last November, denies any wrongdoing and has since returned to his former life as an academic at Boston University, Massachusetts.
The commission on Tuesday submitted a 600-page report to the Supreme Court in which it held Haqqani responsible for writing the memo, a court official said.
The court adjourned for two weeks and ordered Haqqani, along with witness, American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, and one of the petitioners, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, to appear when the hearing resumes, the official told AFP.
Haqqani said the report was "political and one-sided," based on "dubious" claims from "a foreigner" and accused the commission of ignoring his requests.
"In any case, the commission was created as a fact-finding body and not as a trial court so it has no right to pronounce anyone guilty or innocent of any crime," he said in a statement.
The memo was allegedly an attempt to enlist US help to head off a feared military coup in exchange for overhauling Pakistan's powerful security leadership.
Zardari reportedly feared that the military might seize power in a bid to limit the damaging fallout after US Navy SEALs killed bin Laden in the garrison city of Abbottabad, not far from Islamabad, on 2 May 2011.
At the time, reports in Pakistan said politicians were keen to clip the all-powerful military's wings and strengthen weak civilian institutions.
The bin Laden raid also exacerbated US suspicions that Pakistan's military is colluding with the Taliban and other insurgents in neighboring Afghanistan.
The memo was controversial at a time when relations between Islamabad and Washington drastically deteriorated, as it fanned tensions between Pakistan's civilians and the military, which has ruled the country for half its existence.