WASHINGTON – Former ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani said on Friday that he had consulted both the civil and military security wings in the embassy before issuing visas to US officials.
Mr Haqqani did not say if he had issued visas without informing the government but maintained that he had consulted security personnel at the embassy before approving the applications.
‘I have consistently said no unauthorised visas were issued by the embassy in Washington while I was the ambassador,’ he said.
Haqqani explained that the real issue was presence of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan adding that institutional failings should be examined instead of blaming an individual unfairly.
The former ambassador said the prime minister Gillani’s recently leaked executive order was ‘essentially a general executive order’ establishing procedure and authorising the ambassador to issue visas requested by the US State Department without referral to Islamabad.
‘Upon receiving that authorisation, the internal embassy system was to delegate scrutiny to Defence Attache’s office and Counsellor representing interior ministry,” he wrote in an e-mail to Dawn News.
The former ambassador said that killing of Osama in Abbottabad, he had repeatedly asserted that no unauthorised visas were given and scrutiny process may have changed but both major intelligence agencies remained involved in issuance of all visas to US officials”.
‘Instead of wasting time on procedures for issuing visas to officials of an ally and aid donor, Pakistan’s media should do its job in focusing on how OBL lived in Pakistan for so long’ said Haqqani.
Hussian Haqqani, a close aide of Mr Zardari, was alleged to be behind a mysterious memo seeking Washington’s help in blocking a possible military coup in Pakistan following America’s operation in Abbottabad that led to the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
The former ambassador to US stirred controversy when in an article published earlier this month, he admitted facilitating US for shooting down Osama Bin Laden without the help of Pakistan’s armed forces or intelligence agencies.