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LAHORE: Why was Hussain Haqqani, former ambassador to the United States, allowed to leave the country when his name was on the exit control list in connection with the Memogate, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani asked while talking to Dawn on Tuesday.

In a veiled reference to former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who the PPP leadership had accused of running a parallel government during its tenure, the former premier said the reasons for Mr Haqqani’s return to the US must be asked from those who had allowed him to leave the country.

“My government had placed Mr Haqqani’s name on the ECL to stop him from leaving the country in [connection with] the Memogate ... who [then] allowed him to leave the country?” Gilani asked, adding that “While [former] president Asif Ali Zardari was out of the country, I had ensured that Mr Haqqani had stayed in Pakistan.”

Mr Haqqani, once a close confidant of Mr Zardari, was alleged to be behind a mysterious memo seeking Wash­i­n­gton’s help in blocking a possible military coup in Pakis­tan following America’s operation in Abbottabad.

Mr Gilani asked why the present government was sitting on the Justice Javed Iqbal-led judicial commission’s report on the operation to hunt down Osama Bin Laden.

“My government had formed the judicial commission to probe the Abbottabad operation (a raid by US Navy seals in the garrison town of Abbottabad on May 2, 2011 in which Bin Laden was killed). But why is the incumbent government not making the report [public]. The role of Mr Haqqani in the Memogate [scandal] will also be exposed if the commission’s report is made public,” he said.

“Neither Mr Zardari nor I had sanctioned visas to US security officials against rules. The procedure involving screening by state agencies is followed in such cases,” Mr Gilani said, adding that nobody could challenge his loyalty to the country.

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2017