Haqqani declines to return due to security concerns
ISLAMABAD: Expressing lack of confidence in the country’s security apparatus despite having the government of his own party, former Pakistani ambassador to the US and main accused in the famous memo case Husain Haqqani has once again refused to appear before the Supreme Court citing security reasons.
“I will not and cannot trust my personal safety in the hands of state machinery that routinely fails to protect Pakistani citizens,” Mr Haqqani has written to the interior secretary through the Pakistan’s embassy in Washington in response to a letter that promised adequate security arrangements to him on the directive of the SC.
Mr Haqqani has asked the interior secretary to inform the SC bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, which will be hearing memo case on Monday (today), about his concerns regarding the threats to his life “from several sources including various Jihadi groups whom I have criticised and opposed publicly and elements within the state apparatus that have supported and protected these terrorist elements over the years”.
The SC is hearing a number of petitions filed by some lawyers and politicians, including PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, in the case pertaining to a controversial memo sent to former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen seeking US intervention to avert a possible overthrow of the government by the military some two years back.
In his letter, a copy of which is available with Dawn, Mr Haqqani has mentioned the assassinations of ANP leader Bashir Bilour and former Punjab governor Salman Taseer as the reason for his distrust in the country’s security agencies.
“The recent assassination of ANP leader and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa senior minister Bashir Bilour has exposed the hollowness of state-organised security arrangements, especially for those who do not conform to the narrowly-construed ideology of extremists and their mentors within the country’s establishment,” Mr Haqqani has said, adding: “I do not have faith in any security organisation in Pakistan at the current moment and it is my firm belief that the publicity given to the one-sided findings of the commission headed by Qazi Faez Isa, especially the language used in the report of the commission, has prejudiced my rights and security beyond repair.”
“Which law enforcement agency or security organisation can guarantee that their personnel will not be affected by this negative propaganda against me in an environment wherein people are being killed for their religious beliefs and even children administering the polio vaccine to infants as volunteers are not safe from ideologically-driven maniacs?” he has asked, stating: “I cannot ignore several recent incidents in the country of mobs lynching individuals merely on accusations and the complete impotence of the state machinery in dealing with these incidents.”
Mr Haqqani has added: “Even though I have not been charged or tried, a general impression has been created that I have been found guilty of some crime making me a very likely target of hyper-nationalist vigilantes of which many are currently active all over Pakistan including within the security services.”
Mr Haqqani has also mentioned PTI chief Imran Khan and former minister in the Musharraf regime Sheikh Rashid Ahmed in the letter alleging that the language the two leaders had used against him should be “seen as potential incitement to their supporters in Jihadist terrorist organisations to eliminate me as a voice for a liberal and tolerant Pakistan and for Pakistan’s continued alliance with the US”.
“There is no guarantee that I will not be killed by one of the many sources of threat to my life in Pakistan. These include the operatives of the several intelligence services with which my sole accuser Mansoor Ijaz claims to have relations; extremists and terrorists who claim to have monopoly over being true Muslims and Pakistanis; some vigilante or angry man provoked by the hostile comments of politicians, commentators and the commission members questioning my loyalty to Pakistan; and members of the permanent state apparatus who may have played a role in my ouster from the office of ambassador,” he said.
The former ambassador has said that during his stay in Pakistan from November 18, 2011 to January 31, 2012, he was able to stay in the relatively safe precincts of the Presidency and the Prime Minister’s House.