Some questions on the Husain Haqqani fiasco

Editor’s Note: As responsible social media, we must ask, why, this is being over played by media? Will this result in a rift between the current civil government & Pakistan Military? Who stands to benefit the most from it? Does it further destabilize Pakistan? Who stands to benefit the most from it? This news is old news, WHY play it up now? WHY at this point with opposing parties have been holding rallies against the sitting government? Is the dish being cooked by vested interests? Who stands to benefit by this instability the most?FOOD FOR THOUGHT PLEASE?


By: Muhammad Abd al-Hameed

روشنی طبع، تو بر من بلا شدی اے

This Farsi line applies aptly to Husain Haqqani, now that his brilliance has landed him in the worst debacle of his career.

The fiasco raised many questions, some still unanswered, some not fully answered. Let us try to find out what it was all about and also put available facts in perspective.


Did Husain Haqqani do it?

Of course, beyond a shadow of doubt. He did pass on a memorandum to Mansoor Ijaz, seeking his help in saving his boss’s government. It is not a simple case of one man’s word against the other. Mansoor Ijaz has already provided enough documentary evidence from his Blackberry to prove it.


How were the beans spilled?

Haqqani and Ijaz, as professionals in tricks, were to keep the secret only to themselves. By talking one-to-one with Zardari on one side and Mansoor Ijaz on the other, Haqqani ensured complete secrecy. It might well have remained secret.

But human frailty upset the plan. Days before his retirement as Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen spoke harshly against our army in his testimony before the U.S. Senate. May be he was disappointed on not succeeding in Afghanistan, or may be it was his pent-up frustration over years on not being able to get our army do his bidding every time. (In an interview some time ago with the French news agency, Agence France Presse (AFP), he said Gen. Kayani could stop the terrorists if he wanted to, and then added ruefully, “I don’t know whether he will do it or not.”)

There was an outrage against Mullen in our media, though the U.S. government played down his statement, even disassociated itself from what he had said. Mullen was enraged, believing that ISI was behind it.

Since Mullen had helped Ijaz in establishing his credibility with Haqqani, he approached him for a quid pro quo. Ijaz agreed and wrote the article for the op-ed (opposite editorial) page of The Financial Times, hoping that it would discredit our army for wilting under American pressure and not taking over. The secret that was deep in his heart came out, to Haqqani’s hard luck. Ijaz himself justified the article in his interview with Sana Bucha (“Lekin!” Geo News, Nov. 14) as a counterattack to criticism against Mullen.

Haqqani must have known much about Mansoor Ijaz, such as his conservative (rightist) leanings and his links with the Pentagon (that he needs for his high-flying diplomatic freelancing). However, he did not know that Ijaz also believes in exchanging favors.


How did Haqqani try to save his skin?

The disclosure of his approach to Ijaz was a disaster for Haqqani. He thought denial would be the best way out. So, he himself contradicted Ijaz, asked the spokesman of the President and the Foreign Office to do the same. They obliged him but it was not enough for him. A contradiction from the other side was also necessary. So, he succeeded in persuading the former spokesman of Mullen to issue a carefully crafted denial. Enraged, Ijaz hit back with a long rejoinder. In fact, he went so far as to show the entire content of his Blackberry to a high official (probably of ISI) and even offered, in his interview with Sana Bucha, to appear before a Parliamentary committee or a court. Haqqani was now in a very thick soup.


Why did Haqqani approach Mullen in the first place?

As an ambassador, Haqqani should have approached the U.S. State Department for help. He could even meet Hillary Clinton. But this channel in his view could not be very productive. A warning from the Pentagon to the army would be more effective. However, he could not meet Mullen directly under the diplomatic rules. Media savvy that he is, he also wanted deniability in case something went wrong. (A message sent through an intermediary could be easily denied if ever the need arose.) Moreover, Mullen could convey the warning to Kayani in normal conversation during one of their frequent meetings, without raising any suspicion that Zardari was behind it.

Politicians with no deep roots in the masses and no confidence in their ability to govern seek help from the outside. Haqqani knew that in September 1999, the Sharif brothers became panicky and sought American help against a possible coup that they feared. Shehbaz rushed to Washington and got a strong statement issued by the State Department in favor of his brother’s government but ultimately to no avail.

In fact, Musharraf had no plan to topple Nawaz government and would not have done anything against it if the Prime Minister had not tried to remove him in a clumsy attempt that was also illegal. (Under the Army Act, no action can be taken against an officer, even a lieutenant, while he is abroad. Secondly, the army chief could not be removed unless the Defense Secretary issued a notification about it (which never happened); there was no validity to even written orders of the Prime Minister that would-be army chief, Lt Gen. Ziauddin Butt, has been showing around.


Who asked Haqqani to do it?

It is the father of all questions. Najam Sethi (“Aapis ki bat,” Geo News, Nov. 15) did a clever spin job. He implied that the army had arranged the Ijaz article, conveniently ignoring the fact that it had nothing to gain. Kayani, like Musharraf, never planned to take over. So, a warning from Mullen, even if given, did not matter. Rather, the article would give the impression that the army did want to take over but held back under an American threat.

Najam also gave an impression that Haqqani might not be guilty, only the army considered him so. He also stopped short of saying that Zardari had asked Haqqani to do it, as if Gilani or somebody else might have done it. Zardari would have been much better off if he had Najam as his official spin doctor.


Who told Zardari about a possible coup?

Good question. Our rulers are very credulous when it comes to a threat to their power. Anybody can make them panicky with a rumor of a coup, however wild. It happened with Nawaz Sharif, when some cronies told him about the possibility of a coup after the Kargil (even though the army had no such intention). No wonder, he sent his brother hastily to the U.S. to prevent it.

The same must have happened with Zardari. Somebody, who had his ear, wanted to convince him of his loyalty and also of his being very informed, told him that he would be the fall guy after the U.S. action in Abbottabad. He could be somebody Zardari trusted very much but was fed false information. Somebody in intelligence? Some journalist, who wanted to get close to the President? Time will tell.


How will it end?

Najam Sethi says that the crisis will end with the sacking or resignation of Husain Haqqani and appointment of a National Security Advisor on the recommendation of the army. It may not be that simple. The army is eyeball to eyeball with Zardari, and according to Ijazul Haq, “On the basis of my information and observation, it is a case of who moves first.”

Azizi of the popular program, “Hasb-i-Haal” (Dunya News), disclosed recently that Zardari has asked Adiala Jail authorities to keep his belongings in the room that he had occupied while there. “I may have to live there again.” The statement has not been contradicted.

According to a media report, Zardari once told a visitor, “If I make America angry, I lose this (pointing to his chair.) If the army gets angry, this will happen.” He moved his open palm across his neck.


The writer is based in Lahore,Pakistan & is a Media Consultant.

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  • Sajid Manzoor Ph.D.  On November 17, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    My story is some what contrary to above. What we conceive during last one year is that USA is no longer happy with Zardari and Nawaz Sharif and so is Establishment in Pakistan. The dire need of new strong political figure, fulfilled positively and timely by Imran Khan, few presumed backed by Establishment in Pakistan too. Imran is being backed by westerns and Pakistani establishment simultaneously, proof of which is the resignation of Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, tentative helping hand of Imran Khan, an important figure among think tanks at New York and Washington D. C, where his son is playing great, helping USA playing his part in Pakistani politics.
    So the great game is to create an environment for Imran Khan, acceptable to both parties engaged, playing above Haqani, Ijaz Scandal.

    • S U Turkman  On November 17, 2011 at 11:09 pm

      Mr. Manzoor,
      If USA didn’t know, Pak Military has real power in Pakistan, she would be mad at Zardari.
      USA knows …,
      * … Pak Military had started propaganda campaign against Zardari and then 2 years ago Gen. Keyani had come to Washington to seek permission to overthrow him. When Obama had told Keyani to stop interfering in Domestic Politics and mind his own business (of taking care of Taliban),
      * … Propaganda Campaign against Zardari had gone full steam after this and Taliban and other JehaaDi Groups working for ISI were told to create more mayhem in Pakistan so, Pakistanis can be told, “All this is happening because of US Occupation of Afghanistan”.
      * … Pak Military had expected Pakistanis to out on the streets against Zardari and USA but it did not happen because Pakistanis are much smarter than that.
      * … after Osama Episode Military had sent Zardari to Moscow asking, “Why are you not helping us kick USA out of Afghanistan, just like USA had helped us kick you out?” and Kremlin had dispatched him back to Islamabad right away after giving him a smile.
      * … Military had then sent P.M. Gilani to Beijing asking for help against possible US Invasion. China had refused to accept that theory. Then, Gilani had asked for a Defense Pact against India. China had refused that also telling him that Pakistan should resolve her issues with India peacefully.
      * … Pak Military had propagated that China is building Chashma Nuclear Plant. China did not deny but never built it.
      * … Pakistan Military had propagated that Chinese Troops in Swat were to build a highway linking Gwadur to China. China never denied but has not started that for last 4 years.
      * … Pakistan had propagated that China would replace all the US Aid and Loans if relations with USA were strained. China had immediately denied it by saying, “We would not replace any US Aid or IMF Loans to Pakistan”.
      * … Pakistan had floated rumor to scare USA that China was selling 2 Nuclear Plants to Pakistan. China shot that rumor off the air immediately by denying that.
      * … Pakistan’s China Card has turned out not to be a trump and this is why scared to hell Pak Military has tried to secure eastern border of Pakistan by giving India Most Favored Nation status in trade for the first time in Pak History to stop India from taking advantage of present situation that USA has found out that Pak Military has been back-stabbing her. Military thinks, relations with USA have gone so bad that she would not stop India from attacking West Pakistan like in 1971, 1998 and 2002.
      * … there is no Coup de tat coming up in Pakistan. Only change in High Command of Military is coming up.

      • a m malik  On November 18, 2011 at 3:42 am

        u must be the guardian angel with every activity that you have described. Are u hellucinated sir, that you bring in such fascinating, fabricated and connocted accounts??

  • a m malik  On November 17, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    The point to consider is that why should there be the reason for the army to topple the government post Abbottabad fiasco when it was army who was in a soup. The only reason perhaps could be that army sensed that the Obama’s presence(if there is even a grain of truth in the Abbotabad operation) has been leaked out by one of the Zardari’s cronies – and most probably A. Rehman malik. at the bidding of Zardari. This then must have annoyed the ARMY and hence the apprehensions in the mind of Zardari

    • a m malik  On November 18, 2011 at 2:09 pm

      Correction Please read Osama instead of Obama in my comments above. It was a typographical error

  • Mohammad Chaudhry  On November 17, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    It’s an outcome of paranoia that Zardari suffers from like anyone catapulted in the top position through kick of circumstance and Machiavellian games,without having requisite positive traits and credentials.The beans spilled by Najam Sethi, through Sana Bucha, could be accidential or part of a counter game,maybe time will tell or it could be never known,as it happens in so many cases. Even the court order in America,issued last week,couldn’t find out how 17 1/2 minutes of recording of Nixon and his chief of staff conversation, just after Watergate,were erased accidentally as alleged

  • Saby  On November 17, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    What a dirty game politics is … And the funny part is it does not matter if it’s a political politics or home politics. (:

    Stay blessed!
    Take care.

    Sabeen Tabassum Amin

  • Khan Zia  On November 17, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    “Musharraf had no plan to topple Nawaz government” — not true. About a month or so before the hijacking episode, Musharraf and his wife attended a private dinner at Admiral Fasih Bokhari’s house. The latter had been the Chief of Naval Staff at the time. During the course of the dinner Musharraf informed him that the army intended to stage a coup and invited Admiral Bokhari to join him. When he refused, Musharraf and wife abruptly got up and left, not feeling exactly pleased. This has been narrated to me and some others by the admiral personally before the coup.

    Unverified statements such as the one quoted above inevitably tend to cast doubt on rest of the content as well.

    • a m malik  On November 18, 2011 at 2:39 am

      Dear Sir
      At admiral’s rank one needs to be truthful and trustworthy – qualities for which he is usually not credited with. Other than that, did he not hide his sickness also?
      For his selection as a NAB man – is that not enough of commonality with Zardari?

    • Muhammad Abd Al-Hameed  On November 20, 2011 at 9:21 am

      It is not possible to accept the statement about Fasih Bukhari (Khan Zia On November 17, 2011) for these reasons:
      a) Fasih Bukhari promptly accepted appointment as Chairman, NAB, despite knowing that it was illegal because proper consultation had not been made with Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice. How could he refuse an offer (if it was ever made) for a much higher post from Musharraf?
      b) Military people always believe firmly in need to know basis in secret matters. Generals who toppled governments always kept their cards close to chest. It is inconceivable that Musharraf could have disclosed his plan to Fasih a month earlier when he was not even sure that his offer would be accepted. He could ask Fasih at any time after take-over.
      c) If Musharraf did plan take-over, he would not have gone to Colombo. If Secretary Defence had issued notification of Musharraf’s removal, no general would have refused to accept a legal order. Takeover while the chief is out of the country would have been dicey. Military people do not act under uncertain situations.
      d) After Jahangir Karamat was forced to resign, the military top command is understood to have decided that it would not allow such humiliation of the army chief in future. So, 111 Brigade took action under agreed procedure, without waiting for any order from the army chief.
      d) If the army had planned a coup, Musharraf would have been ready with his speech to the country. It took him two days to prepare his address.

  • Hassan Jeffery  On November 18, 2011 at 12:01 am

  • Nadeem  On November 18, 2011 at 12:49 am

    Very interesting and viable assessment of the whole sordid affair. Unlike Tarek Fateh’s convoluted article.

    Nadeem Kausar

  • Brig Farooq H. Khan  On November 18, 2011 at 1:13 am

    the secret memo issue is too grave a matter to be resolved with a simple resignation. the details of the memo must be made public. the nation wants to know what all was offered to the Americans to keep this govt in power by raising the bogey of a military coup on MAY 10 this year. Hussain Haqqani could not have done it alone, If the President approved this memo , then he must take the high moral ground to own it up.

    Hussain Haqqani was never the right choice for this sensitive and critical post. He poorly managed Pak- US relations on those controversial clauses of Kerry Lugar Bill, those hundreds of visas without proper security clearance to dubious foreigners, the continuous anti Army/ISI bashing in the US/western media and now the memo issue.

    The Parliament should be briefed by the national security agencies, since i am sure they have all the details. All those who tried to barter Pakistan’s security interests through secret deal, must be held accountable by the state as per the Constitution and Law.
    Brig Retd Farooq Hameed Khan

  • Nadeem  On November 18, 2011 at 1:14 am

    AAZ !!! Please accept the resignation without a moments delay. This will probably the only favor you have done for Pakistan.

    Nadeem Kausar

  • Zafar  On November 18, 2011 at 11:19 am

    The heart of the matter lies in author’s one sentence”.Politicians with no deep roots in the masses and no confidence in their ability to govern seek help from outside”. Such a stupidity had to happen sooner or later.
    Yes, the game is up.

    • a m malik  On November 18, 2011 at 2:14 pm

      Yes the game should be up. It should have been up before the fellow took over as the President. What greater insult to the mental vocabulary of our politicians aka exploiters. Turning to the matter under discussion=

      I have read the detailed account as given in the link below from the “THE NEWS”. It is horrific.


      “MI: By the way, I know a lot more than you give me credit for about the circumstances that led to May 1 and your role in all that. Just FYI

      HH: Honorable ppl stick with one another. Take care.

      MI: ;)”
      It is the above few lines extracted from the long conversation, that is a cause of greater concern for me. Does this not convey that the Ab’tabad action was as a result of Mr Haqqani’s spilling the beans – should Osama story of Abtabad be true? And should that be the case then who spilled the beans to HH? Rehman malik for sure – at SHO’s levels ?!
      Any comments?

    • S U Turkman  On November 18, 2011 at 5:06 pm

      No Mr. Malik,
      Countries that can not be run right even 64 years after their birth should have no right to exist. Everybody knows, who won last Election. It was PPP and its Allies, not Pak Military. Pak Military could not even think, Zardari told USA that Osama was being sheltered by it in Abbotabad because even all its own people in ISI had not known this.
      Zardari would not have obediently gone to Moscow on orders of Gen. Keyani to seek help against USA in Afghanistan if he was so brave to have leaked out Osama’s Shelter.

    • S U Turkman  On November 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm

      That’s right Zafar. Only Pak Military has deep roots in Pakistan, nobody else but all its roots are located in Punjab so, it should stop occupying rest of Pakistan.

      • a m malik  On November 20, 2011 at 7:24 am

        I suggest that you refrain from using such beautiful words like shut up. U have a paranoia about the army and ISI,which is devoid of institutional liars like your good self. Your continued anti punjabi rythm is sufficient proof that you want this to be so controversial so that a flare up is seen starting from this blog. You seem to have stayed in punjab since long and the way u bite your own country the same way u are biting the place where u were raised.

        U fabricate events and present the manner that ur godfather FBI wants. U should also recollect that once ur close buddy in the common blog had threatened me to be reported to the FBI! How could he do that unless the duo of you have intimate connections. U sir, have sold your soul for dollars and white skin. And u deliberately try to smog this fact. I have some very good Punjabi friends and the thing that is most noticeable is the absence of any parochialism or provincialism.

  • Nadeem  On November 18, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I agree! It is just a matter of time.

    A short note from a dear friend on the topic. By ZAB, I believe he means AAZ.

    Nadeem Kausar

    Just came back from embassy, they had a cultural event. Haqani was there at embassy, gave a speech against army and media talk shows in pak, spent time self praising etc. There is no doubt that he has been anti army and anti ISI
    I think Haqani did work with Mansoor, what I cannot understand why he did it. That fellow Mansoor is the most dubious person in the world, and Haqani is not that stupid, then same can be said about ZAB.

    Irfan Malik

    • S U Turkman  On November 18, 2011 at 5:17 pm

      And all this hoopla just because Ambassador Haqqani had relayed views of US States Department to an Elected President of Pakistan?
      Then, what the hell is his job in Washington?
      Is it not defending Elected Government of Pakistan?
      Had USA or Haqqani ordered dismissal of Keyani or was there a way that Zardari could have dismissed Gen. Keyani after learning about this possible Coup de tat against him?
      If so, how come he did not dismiss Gen. Keyani then, when Pak Constitution gives him such authority?
      I can not figure out what the big fuss is all about that I am reading so many Anti Haqqani and Anti Zardari posts here if these people really understand, what Democracy means. I had no idea, Pakistanis have upside down crazy brain structure. No wonder Pakistan is still a backward Beggar country of the world. May Allah help cure your Brain Tumors …!

      • a m malik  On November 19, 2011 at 9:21 am

        You keep riding the horse with ur face backwards.
        All though u sound extremely naive but a food for thought. Why was Zardari feeling insecure after the Abbotabad incident when it should have been the army otherwise?
        secondly, any one knows what happened wrt Sri Lanka that the matter had been so sensitive that it almost wrecked the realtions with Pakistan, because of some secrets exposed by ur beloved HH to the US fellows to continue with the title of their mole?

  • Majyd Aziz  On November 19, 2011 at 12:49 am

    If Memogate is swept under the carpet due to USA pressure or some other deal, then we can rightly say that a lot is rotten in all three, that is, Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary.

    In Executive come law enforcing agencies and sensitive organizations too.

    This too hot a potato to cut and make French Fries.


    • S U Turkman  On November 19, 2011 at 2:10 am

      Normal Democracies are supposed to have just 3 branches responsible for everything. In Pak Army Staged Democracy there are 3 branches to blame and Military Branch with Veto Power is above them. Its a grave Sin to blame Godly Imperial branch for anything.
      Jzaak Allah …!
      Pakistan ZinDaabaaD …!

  • S U Turkman  On November 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    You do not even know, what the fuss is all about so, you should just shut up. You asked, why Zardari was feeling insecure?
    The answer is, he was not. It was Pak Military that was and the Memo that contained US Views had informed Zardari that USA fears a Coup de tat after assassination of Obama, not against Zardari but against Gen. Keyani.

    • a m malik  On November 20, 2011 at 7:28 am

      I suggest that you refrain from using such beautiful words like shut up. U have a paranoia about the army and ISI,which is devoid of institutional liars like your good self. Your continued anti punjabi rythm is sufficient proof that you want this to be so controversial so that a flare up is seen starting from this blog. You seem to have stayed in punjab since long and the way u bite your own country the same way u are biting the place where u were raised.
      U fabricate events and present the manner that ur godfather FBI wants. U should also recollect that once ur close buddy in the common blog had threatened me to be reported to the FBI! How could he do that unless the duo of you have intimate connections. U sir, have sold your soul for dollars and white skin. And u deliberately try to smog this fact. I have some very good Punjabi friends and the thing that is most noticeable is the absence of any parochialism or provincialism.

      • S U Turkman  On November 20, 2011 at 6:39 pm

        Mr. Malik,
        How many times you have to post this message to discredit everything I write, my Lord?
        I am a Punjabi and I think, our hegemony and injustice in hiring of other Pakistanis in all Jobs in our control is dividing Pakistan and creating a feeling in Non Punjabis that their country is occupied by us. This is they same feeling that East Pakistanis had and it seems, we have not learned anything from it so far since we believe we are invincible especially after getting Atomic Bomb build by an Bhopal, India Born Non Punjabi. It seems, all that blackmail and China Card usage has been taken away by Allah and the result is our granting of MFN status to India so quickly.

      • a m malik  On November 21, 2011 at 2:29 am

        Turkey vow! Now to make urself authentic you have worn the skin of a punjabi.
        What naivity! How much stupid can u get Sir?

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