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Wednesday Mar 15, 2017

Khawaja Asif demands parliamentary commission over Haqqani’s claims


ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif demanded a parliamentary commission on recent controversy stirred by former ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani, who claimed that Pakistan allowed CIA operatives on its soil to track down the then Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

In a recent piece in Washington Post, Haqqani alleged that the civilian government led by the Pakistan People’s Party had given visas to the US spy agency operatives so that they could hunt for Osama bin Laden, and it eventually led to the OBL raid by US Navy SEALS on May 2, 2011.

Haqqani in his no-holds-barred article added that the then civilian government had not informed the military over these developments.

Asif while addressing a session in the National Assembly on Wednesday said that Haqqani had named then president Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in his article, and the opposition was trying to bury the allegations by merely labeling Haqqani as a “traitor”.

“The matter is not that simple,” he said.

Leader of the Opposition and PPP stalwart Khursheed Shah said that a joint parliamentary commission should be made over the claims. “We want the issue to be investigated. It will only strengthen the parliament.”

Former Interior Minister and PPP Senator Rehman Malik said that he was not divulging information in the larger national interest but he will be forced to speak out if allegations continue. He said that former Prime Minister Gilani had already given his stance over the OBL raid, adding that the PPP had nothing to do with allegations hurled against it in the article. 

Reports in The News state that during 2010 a new policy was issued where extraordinary leniency was shown in issuing visas to American officials over the directives of then President Zardari.

Following the implementation of the new policy on July 14, 2010 Pakistani Embassy in Washington issued visas to 1,445 applicants in six weeks. Out of the 1,445 US citizens, 862 were declared as US diplomats and officials, The News reported.

Speaking in Geo News programme Capital Talk, Haqqani stood by his statement and said he had not revealed anything new in his article. He said that he gave the visas as per the procedure during his tenure. 

Petition submitted in SC to bring Haqqani back

A petition has been submitted in Supreme Court Lahore registry demanding that the Haqqani be brought to Pakistan by the Interpol. 

The petitioner Barrister Zafarullah Khan has made the federal government, foreign and interior ministry, and Haqqani party in the petition.

It adds that Haqqani had promised to return to Pakistan prior to his departure to the United States where he currently resides.

Haqqani's claims have caused an uproar in Pakistan, with even some of his former party fellows rebuffing them and painting him as a traitor.