ISLAMABAD: Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, who kicked up the memo scandal, has come up with an intriguing claim that ISI chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha had visited Arab countries for discussions on a possible coup, which could add fresh fire to the controversy that has already roiled the national politics and claimed the scalp of country’s ambassador to Washington.
A blog posting on Independent’s website quoted Mansoor Ijaz as having said: “that their (US intelligence) information was that Pasha had travelled to a few of the Arab countries to talk about what would be necessary to do in the event they had to remove Zardari from power and so forth.”
The secret memorandum, allegedly routed through Ijaz to Mike Mullen, the former US military chief, sought US support to avert a military takeover following the killing of Osama bin Laden in May.
The claim about Gen Pasha talking to Arab leaders about the coup is per se not new. There is a reference to this effect in the so-called transcript of Blackberry messenger conversations between Husain Haqqani and Mansoor Ijaz.
The latter had supposedly sent a message to Mr Haqqani: “I was just informed by senior US intel that GD-SII (read DG-ISI) Mr P asked for, and received permission, from senior Arab leaders a few days ago to sack Z.”
However, this message did not attract attention until Mr Ijaz explained its context in an interview with the Independent blogger. He claimed that this information was shared with him by a senior US intelligence official when he sought to confirm through CIA if Mr Zardari was really facing threat from the military.
Gen Pasha, the ISI chief, had proceeded on a secret overseas trip on May 6.
There was no word from ISI or ISPR about Mr Ijaz’s fresh allegations.—Baqir Sajjad Syed