Hussain Haqqani mulls options to sue Imran for defamation

Published January 3, 2023
This combination of photos shows Pakistan’s ex-envoy to the US, Hussain Haqqani, (L) and former prime minister Imran Khan. — Dawn/APP file
This combination of photos shows Pakistan’s ex-envoy to the US, Hussain Haqqani, (L) and former prime minister Imran Khan. — Dawn/APP file

WASHINGTON: Pakis­tan’s former ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani said on Monday that he has asked his lawyers to examine if Imran Khan’s conspiracy theories about him fell under defamation laws.

Speaking to journalists in Lahore on Sunday, the former prime minister claimed that the then army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa hired Mr Haqqani in July 2021 for lobbying in Washington, and the ex-envoy launched a “defamation” campaign against him and promoted Mr Bajwa in the US capital.

Mr Khan also claimed that Mr Bajwa’s alleged “set-up” was still active in the establishment purportedly to stop the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) from coming back to power.

Documents posted online last month showed that a former CIA station manager in Islamabad, Robert Grenier, was hired in July 2021 to lobby for the PTI government in Washington who then engaged Mr Haqqani to do some research work for him.

Later, PTI officials in the US said that both men — Mr Grenier and Mr Haqqani — were working for a senior figure in the Pakistani military establishment, and that instead of working for the party, they tried to bring down its government.

Mr Haqqani immediately rejected these allegations as incorrect and on Monday, he issued another statement in Washington, saying: “I just did some research work for Mr Grenier on Pakistan’s politics and economy. That is not lobbying, and the relevant US law is clear that it is not lobbying.”

Mr Haqqani said that Mr Khan’s claims and the Twitter thread by someone that started this whole thing were “a conspiracy theory, not evidence of me working with either PTI’s lobbyist or the Pakistan army”.

He said that like all populists, “Khan sahib thrives on conspiracy theories. I wish he understood that I have no interest in either promoting him or dragging him down”.

He said he had already written how he believed “Pakistan should be reimagined” and “elite political maneuvers are not part” of his assessment.

“I have asked my lawyers to examine if Mr Khan’s conspiracy theories about me fall under defamation laws in the various countries where his statements are published.”

Mr Haqqani advised the former prime minister that “it would be better for him to stop spouting these conspiracy theories instead of facing legal consequences”.

Published in Dawn, january 3th, 2023

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