ISLAMABAD: As the memogate scandal deepens with fresh revelations by US-based businessman Mansoor Ijaz, the man at the centre of the controversy, Ambassador Husain Haqqani twice met President Asif Ali Zardari at the presidency on Sunday and is reported to have stuck to his stance that he had nothing to do with the memo allegedly sent to former US military chief Mike Mullen to stave off a possible military takeover.
Sources close to the president told Dawn that these were informal meetings and, therefore, there was no official word about it from the presidency.
President’s Spokesman Farhatullah Babar neither confirmed nor denied that the meetings had taken place. He only said: “Today being a Sunday there was no official meeting slotted.”
The sources said a high-level formal meeting with Mr Haqqani would be held in the presidency on Monday and it was expected to be attended by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI’s Director-General Maj-Gen Shuja Pasha and Ambassador Haqqani.
Mr Haqqani who arrived in Islamabad on Sunday morning spent a busy day and held informal meetings also with some officials of the armed forces and Foreign Office officials, the sources said.
At the presidency, one-to-one meetings between the president and Mr Haqqani on Sunday continued for a few hours and the ambassador presented his version in detail.
The first meeting took place in the morning and the second in the evening.
“I think the problem has been resolved and details will be made public in a couple of days,” the source said.
Before the meeting, it was expected that Mr Haqqani might tender his resignation as he had already said that he could quit if ordered by President Zardari to do so.
Mr Haqqani’s primary defence is that the memo is unsigned and unverified. The sources, however, said Mr Haqqani was asked not to tender his resignation and face the situation with the assertion that he was not involved in the matter.
It is believed here that the matter will eventually go to the Supreme Court because PML-N leader Mian Nawaz Sharif said in his public meeting in Faisalabad on Sunday that he would take it to the apex court in two days if the government did not launch an inquiry.
Mr Ijaz, who had claimed to have handed over the memo to the US military chief on behalf of the Pakistani government to seek US help against a possible military takeover claimed in an interview with a private TV channel that he had given important evidences to the ISI chief Gen Pasha in London confirming that he had forwarded the confidential memo to the then US military chief on behalf of the government.
The PPP’s core committee at a meeting on Friday decided that Mr Haqqani would be given a chance to present his version.
President Zardari was of the view that Mr Haqqani could not get himself involved in such an anti-state affair.
The sources said President Zardari was expected to order an inquiry into the controversy to ascertain who had written the memo and at whose behest.