Memogate: Pakistan's Ambassador to the U.S. Resigns, Twitter Reacts
Pakistan Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani announced from his Twitter account (@husainhaqqani) this morning that he asked Prime Minster Yousaf Raza Gillani to accept his resignation. The resignation has been accepted.
Haqqani had earlier tendered a formal resignation to the Prime Minister following allegations he wrote a memo to Washington asking for its help in forestalling a military coup in Pakistan and diminishing the power of its army in the aftermath of the U.S. raid to kill Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad last May. The scandal being referred to as "Memogate" has further strained relations between Pakistan's civilian and military leaders.
According to several media reports, US Joints Chiefs Chairman Michael Mullen did receive a secret communication. However, the admiral said he did not pay attention to it and took no follow-up action.
The Pakistani Ambassador, a prominent figure in Washington’s diplomatic scene, has denied writing or delivering the memo, which was unsigned.
“To me, Pakistan and Pakistan’s democracy are far more important than any artificially created crisis over an insignificant memo written by a self-centered businessman,” he said in a statement to the Washington Post. “I have served Pakistan and Pakistani democracy to the best of my ability and will continue to do so."
According to the Express Tribune, a Prime Minister house spokesperson said that Haqqani was asked to resign to make the inquiry process "transparent." If the inquiry clears Haqqani, he may be reinstated, and his resignation shouldn't be seen as an admission of guilt.
Following the tweet of his resignation as Ambassador, a position he had held since 2008, Haqqani followed with the message:
I have much to contribute to building a new Pakistan free of bigotry & intolerance. Will focus energies on that.
Asked for comment, former Asia Society Senior Adviser Hassan Abbas said: "The resignation of Pakistan's savvy ambassador to the U.S., Hussain Haqqani, may open up a Pandora's box of civil-military differences on key foreign policy issues faced by Pakistan."
"The stinging controversy that has led to his departure remains an unresolved mystery which raises many questions. The most critical is whether Mansoor Ejaz — the American businessman whose disclosures initiated the crisis — acted alone or acted on behalf of any influential group in the U.S. or Pakistan.
"If the allegations relating to the memo are accurate, then it is pertinent to question whether Haqqani was acting alone or if this was reflective of the strategy of the top political leadership of Pakistan? Last but not least important, is the question of whether this resignation will lead to closure of the episode. That seems unlikely.
"In terms of the U.S.-Pakistan relations, though this development is not expected to have any deep impact, the bilateral defense sector cooperation might improve."
Meanwhile, here's how Twitter reacted to the news: