Pakistan's US ambassador quits over army memo

Pakistan's ambassador to the US said last night he was stepping down from his post as the swirling controversy over an alleged plot to oust the country's military leadership refused to go away.

Husain Haqqani said he was resigning while an inquiry ordered by Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani proceeded, but that he intended to work for his country's future. "I have a vision for Pakistan which sees it as a future South Korea, not a future Burma," he told The Independent. "Similarly, I have a vision of US-Pakistan relations which rest on mutual trust rather than constant game-playing."

The resignation of Mr Haqqani had been widely anticipated since it emerged last week he was being called back to Islamabad to meet with the country's civilian and military leadership over an affair that has become known as "Memogate". Those meetings took place yesterday and concluded with the confirmation from the Prime Minister's office that Mr Haqqani was to be replaced.

"The Prime Minister was pleased to direct [the] conducting of a detailed investigation at an appropriate level and in the meanwhile he asked [the] Pakistan ambassador to the USA, Mr Husain Haqqani, to submit his resignation," said a statement issued by Mr Gilani's spokesman.

The controversy that has gripped Pakistan's political classes focused on a claim by a Pakistani businessman based in the US, Mansoor Ijaz, who said that in the days after a US raid killed Osama bin Laden, he had been approached by a "senior Pakistani diplomat" and asked to pass on a message to the then-Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. In an article published in the Financial Times, Mr Ijaz suggested the diplomat wanted to convey a message from President Asif Ali Zardari requesting US help to avoid a possible coup. In exchange, the memo offered to replace the military leadership, give up several high-profile militants suspected of living in Pakistan and improve relations with Afghanistan. The controversy took on new life when Mr Mullen last week confirmed receiving the memo, though he said he ignored it.

Mr Haqqani said last night he had no connection with the memo, despite Mr Ijaz's claims that he had messages from his phone and other evidence that could prove it.

But the word in Islamabad was that the ambassador's resignation was the price being demanded by military chief General Ashfaq Kayani after he met with Mr Zardari.

There is much about the affair that makes little sense, not least the fact that Mr Haqqani was known to be seamlessly connected in Washington and would not have needed the likes of Mr Ijaz to pass on a message to the Pentagon. Mr Ijaz has a long, not entirely transparent history of trying to promote himself as a "mediator" in various South Asian controversies.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Multi Skilled Engineer - Electrical / Mechanical / Maintenance

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A multi-skilled engineer with a...

Recruitment Genius: Electronic Service Engineer - Television & HI-FI

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Engineers for field & bench ser...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Designer - Award Winning Agency

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity for a t...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager

£35000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global provider of call ce...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada