The former Pakistan Ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, has dismissed the allegations levelled against him in the ‘Memogate' case as a “well-woven” story that the author, Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, put together on the basis of random telephone calls and some e-mails unrelated to the specific charge.
This affidavit — notarised and attested in Washington as Mr. Haqqani is presently out of the country — is due to be submitted on Monday to the Supreme Court-appointed judicial commission hearing the case in Islamabad.
According to Mr. Haqqani, there is no human witness to support Mr. Ijaz's claim that he drafted and delivered the “disputed memo” to the former U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Mike Mullen, through an intermediary on the request of the former Ambassador. In the memo, the Zardari-led dispensation sought Washington's help in pre-empting a coup following the U.S. raid in Abbottabad to take out al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Airing his opinion of the entire controversy in the affidavit, Mr. Haqqani said: “It is apparent to me that around May 9-12, Mr. Ijaz created a trail of text and BlackBerry messenger (BBM) exchanges that he could line up alongside contemporaneous telephone calls to falsely and maliciously implicate me in his own scheme and specifically create evidence that I was involved in a memo that he drafted and gave to General James Jones for onward transmission to Admiral Mike Mullen.”
Describing Mr. Ijaz as a “peripheral acquaintance”, Mr. Haqqani has argued that the communications log provided by the businessman shows more activity by him “which raises the question why he was more eager to draft and convey the disputed memo if the idea originated from me”.
Stating that Mr. Ijaz's account of telephonic conversations between them was false, the former Ambassador added: “He has admitted that there is no email, BBM or text message from me that explicitly confirms his claim that I asked him to convey a message to Admiral Mullen.”
Even the screenshots provided by the businessman as proof of this e-mail exchange pertain to contacts related to Mr. Ijaz's television appearances after the Abbottabad raid when Mr. Haqqani was entrusted with the task of damage control in the international media. Mr. Ijaz had written some very critical articles and the former Ambassador's claim is that their conversations in May 2011 were a bid by him to present the Pakistani version and ask the businessman to tone down his criticism/allegations regarding Pakistan's role in harbouring bin Laden.
About his own failure to provide the BlackBerry handset that he had used during the period under question, the former Ambassador said he had changed the instrument; maintaining that he had not done so to eliminate evidence as has been suggested by some of his detractors in Pakistan.
By his own recollection, he has changed his Blackberry set at least a dozen times and the number twice since he first switched to the service in 2007. This, he contends is not unusual and has included in the annexure an article showing the handset replacement cycle of people in different countries to prove his point. He also points out that Mr. Ijaz has admitted to replacing the handset he used in May when the e-mail and BBM exchange with Mr. Haqqani is said to have taken place.