NEW DELHI: Controversial Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz was adept at advancing his personal agenda with different governments, and had once lobbied with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, urging him to split the state of Jammu and Kashmir into three parts as a possible solution to the intractable dispute, The Telegraph of Kolkata claimed on Tuesday.
In a dispatch from Washington, The Telegraph`s correspondent K. P. Nayar said the jolt to Pakistan`s Ambassador Husain Haqqani from the so-called memogate scandal triggered by Mr Ijaz threatened to disrupt a rare cordiality the Pakistan envoy had developed with India`s Ambassador in Washington Nirupama Rao.
“Haqqani appears to have been naive in allowing himself to be used by Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz in advancing his personal agenda of worming into the Obama administration`s confidence by offering himself as an emissary of the civilian government in Islamabad during the critical period after the killing of Osama bin Laden,” The Telegraph said.
“If Haqqani is forced to leave his post in Washington, it will not be the first time that the possibility of an India-Pakistan opening through Washington will become closed. In 2006, Mahmud Ali Durrani was appointed as Islamabad`s envoy here: he was known as “General Shanthi” for his advocacy of peace with India.
“But his tenure was cut short with President Asif Ali Zardari sending Haqqani to replace him. Unlike Rao`s initiative now, no effort was made during Durrani`s time to open a channel for bilateral peace.”
The paper claimed that a decade ago, the Vajpayee government “learnt a bitter lesson when Ijaz approached (his) government with pretensions that he had Washington`s official backing and proposed trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir as one of the solutions for the dispute over the state`s accession to India”.
Mr Ijaz later “hogged a lot of international publicity by insinuating that he had a role in the Vajpayee government`s ceasefire in Kashmir”, The Telegraph said.
Mr Ijaz has also claimed to have brokered talks between Sudan and the Clinton administration on Osama bin Laden`s possible extradition to the US and said that he was an adviser to Nelson Mandela`s “unity government” in South Africa.