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I am ready give a statement to investigating commission: Husain Haqqani

16 March, 2017

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Pakistan’s former US ambassador Husain Haqqani speaking on a television show on Wednesday night said that he is ready give a statement to a commission investigating recent claims he made in an op-ed published by the Washington Post.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif earlier today called for a parliamentary commission to probe Haqqani's claims that his ‘connections’ with the Obama administration enabled the United States (US) to target and kill Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

Host Mehar Bukhari asked Haqqani whether he would appear before a commission ─ if one was set up ─ probing the matter, to which the former ambassador responded in the affirmative.

"Many commissions have been set up and a report also released, but until today the Supreme Court has not taken action on this report," he claimed.

"Someone sitting outside the country can stay there and give a statement. If a commission wants a statement from me, they should ask in writing... I will give a statement via video link," he said. However, he maintained that "nothing new has been said that must be denied."

In his article published in The Washington Post on Friday, Haqqani defended the Trump team’s contacts with Russia during and after the 2016 US presidential elections and said he also had established similar relations with members of the Obama campaign during the 2008 elections.

Those contacts "led to closer cooperation between Pakistan and the United States in fighting terrorism over the 3 1/2 years I served as ambassador" and "eventually enabled the United States to discover and eliminate bin Laden without depending on Pakistan’s intelligence service or military, which were suspected of sympathy toward Islamist militants," the op-ed said.

Haqqani today said "the Americans took advantage of the ties that we facilitated and conducted an operation... I also wrote that in this operation, we were not taken into confidence. This includes the army and the civilian government."

"The problem arose when the discussion took place about the increasing number of Americans in Pakistan, because they'd given us a very large aid package ─ $7 billion. When they increased their numbers, some of our people said if we're taking their aid, we should let them come here too."

"A spy does not inform you that he is a spy before he visits... Many Americans came in larger number numbers, surely there were spies present among them," he said.

"I wrote that this is what happened, but I did not say that anyone intended this on purpose," he added.

"The point is that the Central Intelligence Agency operatives who notified and came to Pakistan, they all notified the Inter-Services Intelligence. They didn't phone me and say I'm a CIA man, I'm travelling, please give me a visa," he claimed.

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