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Southasia - - Briefing -

Much has rapidly changed in the Us-pak­istan re­la­tion­ship with Am­bas­sador Hu­sain Haqqani re­sign­ing over the Mem­ogate scan­dal. Haqqani, who served as Pak­istan Am­bas­sador to the US from 2008, was seen as a great friend and con­fi­dant of the US govern­ment: a fact that also drew strong crit­i­cism and sus­pi­cion from the Pak­istani mil­i­tary es­tab­lish­ment. On the Pak­istani side, the Am­bas­sador was per­ceived to be very close to the Pres­i­dent, thus draw­ing crit­i­cism from po­lit­i­cal par­ties within the coun­try.

The in­fa­mous memo, al­legedly sent by Haqqani fol­low­ing the Bin Laden raid ear­lier this year, to Amer­i­can busi­ness­man, Man­soor Ijaz, was made pub­lic af­ter the lat­ter pub­lished an ex­plo­sive op-ed in the Fi­nan­cial Times. Ijaz claimed that Haqqani, ini­tially on the or­ders of Zar­dari, had asked him to de­liver a memo to Ad­mi­ral Mike Mullen. Ijaz had asked Gen­eral Jim Jones to be the in­ter­locu­tor and de­liver the memo to Mullen.

The memo that sought US as­sis­tance in pre­vent­ing a sus­pected mil­i­tary coup of a weak civil­ian govern­ment fol­low­ing the Ab­bot­tabad raid, drew furor from the Army as well as the ISI. Ad­mi­ral Mullen, the re­cip­i­ent of the memo, did not deem the un­signed memo cred­i­ble or authen­tic and Haqqani ve­he­mently de­nied any in­volve­ment with the mat­ter.

How­ever, the Am­bas­sador was sum­moned to Pak­istan and in a closed-door meet­ing at the Prime Min­is­ter’s House that in­volved Pres­i­dent Zar­dari, Prime Min­is­ter Gi­lani, Gen­eral Kayani, DG ISI, Shuja Pasha, Am­bas­sador Haqqani of­fered his res­ig­na­tion that was promptly ac­cepted by the Prime Min­is­ter. It is ex­pected that a trans­par­ent in­quiry will be made into the mat­ter and an independent com­mis­sion will be set up to in­ves­ti­gate the de­tails of the memo, its author and the agency be­hind its is­suance.

Hu­sain Haqqani has been re­placed with hu­man rights cam­paigner, jour­nal­ist and former Fed­eral Min­is­ter for In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing, Sherry Rehman, who will now as­sume the post of Pak­istani Am­bas­sador to the US.

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