ISLAMABAD – A new letter that harks back to 2010 has revealed that the Ministry of foreign affairs had instructed the mission to US to not review the visas of 36 CIA agents present in Pakistan.
The letter was written before the Pakistani Ambassador to US Husain Haqqani was given exclusive powers to renew visas for 36 CIA agents.
The letter dated 18th January 2010, comes as a new shocking revelation amid the uproar and controversy over Haqqani’s claims that he had facilitated the presence of a large number of CIA operatives in Pakistan to track down Osama bin Laden.
On Friday, Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani rebuked all allegations surfaced by a letter of empowering Hussain Haqqani, the then ambassador of Pakistan in Washington, to directly issue diplomatic visas to Americans without clearance from relevant authorities.
He said that the letter directs the ambassador to ensure timely visas not bypass visa conditions. “This was to speed up the process.”
However, Haqqani said 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.