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Clinton Urged to Press Pakistan on Haqqani by Former Officials

A group of U.S. scholars and former officials wrote Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging the Obama administration to express concern to Pakistan’s leaders about threats against Husain Haqqani, that nation’s former ambassador to Washington.

“Haqqani is under intense pressure in Pakistan, including possibly threats to his life, over the so-called ‘Memogate’ affair,” the bipartisan group of Pakistan analysts wrote in the letter today, which was copied to Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and CIA Director David Petraeus.

The writers urged in the letter that top U.S. officials “weigh in with key Pakistani leaders and to make appropriate public statements to ensure that Husain Haqqani is not physically harmed and that due process of law is followed.”

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani asked Haqqani to resign Nov. 22 over allegations that he was behind a secret memo seeking U.S. help in heading off a feared military coup last year, following the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Haqqani’s ouster, before any investigation to prove wrongdoing, was a concession by civilian leaders to quell the military’s fury over the scandal, former officials and analysts in Washington and Islamabad said at the time.

“Questions have been raised about the manner in which this case is proceeding against Ambassador Haqqani and whether due process of law is being followed,” according to today’s letter from U.S.-based scholars, including Bruce Riedel, who led a review of U.S. policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan for President Barack Obama in 2009.

Returned to Pakistan

Haqqani, who denies any involvement in the memo and returned to Pakistan voluntarily to answer questions, has been forced to surrender his passport, according to the letter. The 16 scholars, who include former U.S. ambassadors and advisers to both Democratic and Republican policy makers, commended the State Department for calling for fair and transparent treatment for Haqqani on Jan. 6.

The group said in the letter that “internationally recognized human rights defender Ms. Asma Jehangir recently quit as Haqqani’s lawyer, citing her lack of confidence in the judicial commission established by the Pakistani Supreme Court to investigate the case,” and “noted her concern that Ambassador Haqqani could be picked up by Pakistan’s intelligence services and intimidated, and even possibly tortured, into providing a statement that suits their interests.”

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