Pakistan’s Supreme Court allowed the country’s former ambassador to the U.S. to travel abroad, ending a curb it had imposed following allegations he wrote a memo seeking Washington’s help to stop a possible military coup.
Husain Haqqani, who had returned to Pakistan to brief the country’s elected leadership, was forced to resign over the claims and has been living in the home of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani since, telling reporters that he feared for his security.
“I’m glad that the Supreme Court has restored my right to travel, which had been rescinded without any charges being filed against me,” Haqqani said in an e-mailed statement today. “I will join my family in the U.S. after discussions with the leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party.”
A Pakistani-American businessman’s claims that Haqqani drafted a May letter asking for U.S. assistance as Pakistan’s military stood humiliated by the American strike that killed Osama bin Laden’s north of Islamabad triggered the biggest confrontation between the country’s generals and elected leaders since army rule ended four years ago.
The military supported a judicial inquiry into the incident, while the government opposed the probe. Former U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said he dismissed the memo as he didn’t find it credible.
Gilani criticized the army chief, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, and head of military intelligence head, Lieutenant General Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, on Jan. 9 for overstepping their authority by directly submitting to the Supreme Court their responses on the memo case. A Jan. 11 army statement warned Gilani’s comments may have “grievous consequences.”
In a sign that the government’s ties with the military are on the mend, Gilani last week retracted his remarks in which he accused the army of violating the constitution. Gilani told reporters last week before leaving for Davos, Switzerland, that the government and the military “have to be on the same page.”
The Supreme Court today extended by two months its investigation into Ijaz’s allegations, Asma Jahangir, Haqqani’s lawyer, said by phone.
To contact the reporter on this story: Haris Anwar in Islamabad at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at email@example.com