Pakistan's Rulers Have Very Perverse Priorities
There is an interesting, and depressing, development In the continuing Pakistani"Memogate" controversy -- the one in which the now-former ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, is accused by Pakistan's ruling military elite of trying, with Pakistan's civilian-elected President, Asif Ali Zardari to foment democratic reform in his country. Haqqani, back in Pakistan and under continual investigation, is now being accused of helping the U.S. locate Osama Bin Laden. Yes, "accused."
There are two ways for the Pakistani military to grapple with the fact that Bin Laden was hiding out in Pakistan: They could apologize to the U.S. for, advertently or not, hiding the greatest mass murderer in American history, and they could conduct a serious internal investigation to discover how it came to pass that Bin Laden found refuge in their country. Or, alternatively, they could throw a fit about the "violation" of their border by American soldiers hunting the aforementioned greatest mass murderer in American history, and investigate not how Bin Laden got into Pakistan, but how CIA operative gained access to Pakistan.
The Pakistanis have obviously chosen the latter course, to their shame. The military is actively seeking to punish anyone who might have helped the U.S. find the world's most notorious terrorist. Pakistan is today a country with very perverse priorities. (You can read about the way the Pakistani military lies to the U.S. in our Atlantic cover story, The Ally From Hell).
Here is coverage, from Pakistan's Nation newspaper, of Haqqani's Bin Laden-related travails:
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's former Ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani has stated that he neither had issued visas to the US citizens nor had provided any information to the US about the Osama bin Laden presence in Abbottabad.
'Let me state clearly for the record that these wild allegations are totally baseless and refuted completely by the official record. The Embassy of Pakistan in Washington DC never issued unauthorised visas in three years and 5 months that I served as Ambassador', he said in his written statement submitted to the Inquiry Commission on Abbottabad Operation on Monday.
Husain Haqqani, also appeared before the Commission here at the Cabinet division on Tuesday and faced a number of questions from the Commission members.
About the accusation that Haqqani aided America in locating Bin Laden, the report goes on to state:
...Haqqani said he was on his way to Islamabad via London and Dubai when the operation was conducted and he found out about it upon landing at Heathrow Airport in early morning of May 2.
'I was instructed to immediately turn around, which I did, and returned to Washington by around 5pm local time', he said.
He said he had fully defended the country's interests following the Abbottabad raid and played a role to ensure that the US government, Congress and media do not blame Pakistan government, Armed Forces or intelligence services for allowing Osama bin Laden's presence in the country, as that would have been a violation of UN Security Council resolution 1267 and 1373.
'I was also to protest the violation of Pakistan's sovereignty by US forces in conducting the action and to point out that how US had violated the norms of international conduct between two sovereign countries. I faithfully and diligently carried out my instructions. I met with the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and the Deputy National Security Adviser of the President of the US to register protest over violation of Pakistani sovereignty'.