ISLAMABAD, July 11: A day ahead of the hearing of the memo scandal case, former ambassador to US Hussain Haqqani has written a letter – which is likely to be placed before the Supreme Court on Thursday – saying he will only come to Pakistan after threats to his life have been seriously dealt with.
A nine-judge bench, headed by Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, will resume the hearing on the controversy after the Memo Commission held that Mr Haqqani was architect of the memo sent to former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen seeking US intervention to avert a possible overthrow of the government by the military.
On June 29, the court had asked Mr Haqqani and US businessman of Pakistan origin Mansoor Ijaz, a central character in the scandal, to appear before it on Thursday.
“I will not risk my life until the circumstances that have put my life in jeopardy have changed,” Mr Haqqani said in the letter addressed to the Supreme Court.
Mr Haqqani, who left for the US in January under SC’s permission, said it would be unreasonable to pressure him to return to Pakistan to respond to political accusations based on the word of one foreigner, given the current mood and environment in the country, where individuals were being burned alive on unproved charges of blasphemy and ethnic, political and sectarian killings were going unnoticed.
Mr Haqqani, who is a professor of international relations at Boston University and Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute in the US, said he had neither been charged or tried nor convicted of any crime under the laws of Pakistan and yet he had been painted as a criminal in the eyes of the general public.
The media had painted him “traitor and disloyal to the Pakistani state”, he said, adding that these were extreme characterisations by people who disagreed with him politically.
Mr Haqqani said he received threats every day from extremist elements in Pakistan who questioned his religion and political views. Referring to the memo commission, the former ambassador said: “The highly incendiary language used by the commission in its ‘partisan’ report has increased the threats to my safety and security in case of returning to Pakistan.”
He said: “Mr Imran Khan, the Chairman of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf, who also is currently leading the ‘Adlia bachao tehrik’ (save the judiciary campaign) and claims to speak for Pakistan’s establishment, has publicly declared me a traitor.
“Shaikh Rashid Ahmed, another politician close to the establishment and who also served as a minister in the government of then army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf, has gone on national television to call me ‘Ghaddar ibne Ghaddar’ (traitor son of traitor) without being rebuked by any judicial or judicious authority.”
Mr Haqqani argued that his earlier assurance to the Supreme Court that he would return on a four-day notice was no longer applicable because the commission’s decision to facilitate Mansoor Ijaz by recording his statement via video link lacked transparency because it denied him the opportunity to request the same before the Supreme Court, leading him to give the court an assurance based on lack of knowledge of the commission’s intentions.
“The failure of the state, including the superior judiciary, to protect the lives of those killed and dumped in Balochistan do not inspire much confidence about its ability to ensure my security upon return to Pakistan,” he said.