WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani has sent a legal notice to PTI Chairman Imran Khan for accusing him of playing a role in his ouster in April last year.
In the notice, Mr Haqqani’s US attorney Steven Barentzen warned the former prime minister that a defamation case will be initiated against him if he continued to make false allegations against his client.
In recent statements, the PTI chief has accused several people of orchestrating his ouster through a vote of no confidence last April. In one of the statements, Mr Khan claimed that former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa and military intelligence hired Mr Haqqani to lobby against him in the United States.
Mr Haqqani has already rejected these allegations as false and baseless.
In the legal notice, Mr Barentzen asked Mr Khan to “immediately cease and desist from making false and defamatory statements” about Mr Haqqani. The notice specifically mentioned the “false accusation” that Mr Haqqani provided “lobbying services to retired Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in the United States” and launched a campaign against Mr Khan. It also urged Mr Khan not to take “any other actions” that could incite or cause his “followers to harass Mr Haqqani or cause him violence”.
Imran has been accusing former ambassador of playing a role in his ouster
“Please be advised that Mr Haqqani is not, and has never been, a lobbyist for anyone in the US including Pakistan’s current or former army chief,” the notice added. It reminded Mr Khan that Mr Haqqani is a scholar who has written extensively on Pakistan’s politics and foreign policy and was widely respected for his critique of military intervention in Pakistani politics and for favoring constitutional democracy and against extremism.
“Lobbying for a foreign principal in the US requires registration with the US Department of Justice, and doing so without such registration was a violation of United States law. Mr Haqqani had not violated that, or any other law,” his lawyer argued.
In a separate statement, Mr Haqqani said the allegations levelled by Mr Khan were not only false but also dangerous.
Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2023