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Despite having a ‘deep desire’ to see the government complete its term, the army and intelligence chiefs could simply not ignore the rumours surrounding the memo, self-proclaimed whistle-blower Mansoor Ijaz said on Friday to a judicial commission probing the scandal. The intelligence chief, General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, therefore visited him in London with the consent of Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Ijaz said, while apprising the commission on his meeting with Pasha in London. He was concluding his testimony, via a video link from London, on the third day of hearing before a three-member commission headed by Chief Justice Balochistan High Court (BHC) Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
Former ambassador to USZ Husain Haqqani ‘abused’ the whistle-blowing article published in the Financial Times in October 2011, and attempted to persuade Ijaz through ‘common friends’ to keep the memo under wraps, the Pakistani-origin American businessman, Ijaz, told the commission. Haqqani also changed his BlackBerry handsets twice, in an attempt to delete the exchanges between himself and Ijaz stored on the devices, Ijaz alleged. But Haqqani was not aware that I had already transferred the exchanges on my computer, he added.
All was not sour between the two at all times, though. After his first article appeared in Newsweek, Haqqani appreciated it, and stayed in touch with him till June 22, Ijaz said. In fact, both were cordial until early September when Haqqani told Ijaz he was going back to Pakistan, and the latter asked him why, given that he had done ‘a good job.’ If you think I’ve done a good job, then inform your contacts in Washington that if they want their problems in Pakistan resolved, I am their man to get that done, Ijaz quoted Haqqani as saying.
What was the rationale for disclosing the memorandum? The wide condemnation that Admiral Mike Mullen received for his revelation that the ISI was supporting the Haqqani network, which was allegedly behind the attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan, Ijaz said. Ijaz said he wrote the article in reaction to that, and mentioned the existence of the memorandum, sent by a senior Pakistani diplomat with the backing of Islamabad, in the fourth paragraph. Within 30 minutes of the article’s publication, Ijaz said, he received a call from Haqqani, asking him if he knew any other Pakistani diplomat so that the blame could be shifted.
“I replied that he knows who I knew, and he then abused my article, and hung up the phone,” Ijaz said. He said he subsequently received a call from a senior staff officer of Gen Pasha on October 13 or 14, requesting for a meeting regarding the memo. The day he was leaving for meeting Gen Pasha, Haqqani called him from an unknown number and expressed fear that the intelligence chief might meet the editor of Financial Times and obtain a copy of the memo. Haqqani did not know that Pasha was coming to meet me, Ijaz added. Earlier, Haqqani’s counsel had objected to the four-page telephone bill provided by Ijaz, saying it was not in his name, and not original.
Ijaz said he had provided 4 out of 39 pages of the bill and his name was printed on the first page. He said he cannot provide the entire bill because it contains contacts of family, friends and business associates that he does not wish to make public. He agreed to provide the entire bill to the judges of the commission though, for their verification. Tempers also flared at the hearing after an altercation between Ijaz and Haqqani’s counsel, Zahid Bukhari. The commission adjourned the hearing till March 1.
Pakistan Cyber Force