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US job was thankless assignment: Haqqani

Former Pakistani envoy to the US, Hussain Haqqani has said that his job as an ambassador was a "tough and thankless assignment".

world Updated: Dec 20, 2011 20:43 IST

Former Pakistani envoy to the US, Hussain Haqqani has said that his job as an ambassador was a "tough and thankless assignment".

Haqqani was asked to deal with US officials after the covert US raid in Abbottabad town on May 2 that killed Osama bin Laden and ensure the world did not think Pakistan had been harbouring the Al Qaeda leader.

He was forced to step down as ambassador last month amid allegations he helped craft a memo asking for Washington's help in neutering the political power of Pakistan's armed forces. He, however, denied the charges.

US officials were "threatening in their tone" after the raid, he said in a written statement that was to be heard Tuesday by the commission probing the US operation.

The statement shows the pessimism of a Pakistani official caught between anti-Pakistan sentiment in the US and anti-US sentiment in Pakistan, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

"My instructions were to ensure that the US government, Congress and media do not blame Pakistan's government, armed forces or intelligence services for allowing Osama's presence in the country, as that would have been a violation of UN Security Council resolution 1267 and 1373," he said.

"I also protested reports in the US media, attributed to US officials and members of Congress, that Pakistan was somehow complicit or responsible in bin Laden's stay in Pakistan."

"For their part, the US officials were intransigent and even threatening in their tone," he said.

They were not only unwilling to apologize for violating Pakistani sovereignty but demanded that Pakistan cooperate in giving access to data and people found from the house in Abbottabad where the raid was conducted.

They also demanded the return of the wreckage of the stealth helicopter that was left behind after the raid, he said.

As such, the task before the Pakistan embassy in Washington was to ensure that the negative mood in the US does not result in aggressive sanctions or restrictions on Pakistan by the US Congress.

Public opinion in Pakistan is strongly unfavourable towards the US. "A recent poll shows that 55% of Americans deem Pakistan an enemy while only 7% see us as a friend.

"Under such circumstances, anyone tasked with the job of representing Pakistan in the US faces a tough and thankless assignment."