ISLAMABAD, Mar 15: Khawaja Asif, Minister for Defence on Wednesday called for a parliamentary commission to investigate claims made by Hussain Haqqani in a March 10 op-ed published by the Washington Post.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan seconded the proposal; Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf also agreed, adding that the Memogate Commission’s report should also be made public.
Noting that there had been considerable debate in Parliament on Haqqani’s op-ed over the past few days, Asif recalled that the former ambassador to the US had left the country on the promise that he would return, but never did.
“Haqqani wrote about Osama Bin Laden’s death and levied allegations regarding two people on extremely important posts at the time,” Asif noted.
“I would suggest that a parliamentary commission be formed on the matter and an open inquiry conducted,” he added.
Asif suggested that the defence ministry present all the facts of the case and its policies regarding the matter during the time the Memogate scandal broke.
“The issue is a matter of national security and should be discussed with the media present,” Asif added.
Talking about Haqqani’s allegations, Asif said, “This is not the first time Haqqani has targeted our national security; however, it is the first time that he has named Asif Ali Zardari and Yousuf Raza Gilani in such a case,” Asif added.
He noted that opposition leader Khursheed Shah had termed Hussain Haqqani a traitor, but alleged that Shah was trying to dodge responsibility by doing so.
During the debate, Asif also dismissed rumours that a Pakistan Army brigade was being posted to defend Saudi Arabia’s borders.
He clarified that nearly a thousand army officials had been posted in Saudi Arabia, but most of them were ‘doctors and engineers’.
He also made it clear that Pakistan had a clear policy not to interfere in matters concerning Yemen.
Responding to the defence minister’s allegations, Khursheed Shah retorted that his party has no problems with the formation of a parliamentary commission, but the prime minister should also be present while the probe is conducted.
The commission should also determine who called Osama Bin Ladin to Pakistan in the first place, who facilitated him, and who asked him for help, Shah added.
PML-N leader Zafar Ali Shah petitionend the Supreme Court on Wednesday urging it to initiate a treason trial against former president Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, along with Hussain Haqqani.
The federal ministers for interior, defence and law were made parties to the petition, which also asked for the names of Zardari and Gilani to be put on the Exit Control List.
The petitioner stated that, in his capacity as the supreme commander of the military forces, Zardari had approved the US navy seals’ raid in Abbottabad targetting Osama bin Laden and permitted the issuance of visas to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials.
Shah in his petition further stated that the court must compel the interior and law ministers to bring Haqqani back to Pakistan.
Moreover, it also called on the federal government to make the report of the Abbottabad Commission public and provide details on all visas issued to Americans by Haqqani.