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Gilani to decide Haqqani's fate: Defence Minister

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will decide the future of Pakistani envoy to the US Husain Haqqani in the wake of the 'Memogate' that has shaken the country, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said today, while labelling as a "conspirator" the businessman whose claims over the secret memo have raised the storm.

world Updated: Nov 20, 2011 20:40 IST

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will decide the future of Pakistani envoy to the US Husain Haqqani in the wake of the 'Memogate' that has shaken the country, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said today, while labelling as a "conspirator" the businessman whose claims over the secret memo have raised the storm.

The envoy is part of the Prime Minister's team and he could not be arbitrarily sacked without being given a chance to explain his position, Mukhtar said.

The premier had called Haqqani back to Pakistan to present his explanation, he said during an interaction with journalists.

Any conclusion could be drawn only after Haqqani's explanation, Mukhtar said.

"If anyone is found guilty, they will not be spared," he said.

At the same time, Mukhtar noted that Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz – who has claimed he sent the memo to former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen through an intermediary – was a "conspirator" who had been involved in similar intrigues in the past.

The coming days would be "hard for politics" though there was no possibility of a military coup, Mukhtar said.

The details regarding the memo would soon come to light but unearthing the mastermind of the conspiracy could take some time, he added.

A BlackBerry message conversation reported to have taken place between Ijaz and Haqqani was being investigated after it was leaked to the media in an apparent bid to link the Ambassador to the memo, he said. Haqqani arrived in Islamabad early this morning and was set to meet President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani to answer questions about his alleged role in controversy that threatens his job.

However, there was no official word on when the meeting would be held.

The Ambassador has been at the centre of what the media is referring to as the "Memogate" controversy.

Ijaz claimed last month that the secret memo delivered to then US military chief Admiral Mullen in May had sought American assistance to prevent a possible military takeover in Pakistan in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Ijaz has claimed that he drafted the memo on the instructions of Haqqani.

The envoy, who offered to resign to help defuse the controversy, has said that he played no role in drafting or delivering the memo to Mullen.

Haqqani, a close aide of Zardari, has served as a vital link between the Pakistan government and the Obama administration and played a key role in resolving several recent crises in bilateral relations, including the stand-off over CIA contractor Raymond Davis, who was arrested after he shot and killed two men in Lahore earlier this year.

However, Haqqani has always had an uneasy relationship with the military for his pro-democracy stance.

Reports have said the powerful military is pressuring the weak civilian government to remove Haqqani from his post.

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