Interpol response awaited on request to arrest Hussain Haqqani

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ISLAMABAD: The government is waiting for an Interpol response to its request regarding arrest of Hussain Haqqani, former ambassador of Pakistan to the United States and principal accused in the Memogate scandal.

A senior official of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) told Dawn on Sunday that the agency had sought assistance of Interpol in arresting Haqqani as he was wanted in the Memogate case being tried in the Supreme Court.

“We have so far not received any response from Interpol,” the official said, adding that another request would be sent to the inter-governmental organisation soon.

The FIA had sent the first request to Interpol last week soon after the Feb 15 decision of the Supreme Court to issue arrest warrants for Hussain Haqqani. The SC had ordered Mr Haqqani to appear in the Memogate case, but he failed to comply with the order.

Haqqani described the Supreme Court order for his arrest as “propaganda antics”.

The interior ministry has already given approval for the arrest of Mr Haqqani through Interpol and the FIA has written to its headquarters in France a letter stating that Mr Haqqani is a proclaimed offender and he had assured the Supreme Court in 2012 to come back in Pakistan, but despite repeated notices he is not appearing before the court.

The Supreme Court has termed the Memogate scandal a matter of national politics and ordered that Mr Haqqani be brought back to Pakistan through Interpol.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, who was heading a three-judge bench, remarked that Hussain Haqqani had submitted an undertaking to the court before leaving for the US that he would appear before the SC but he had not followed through.

It is expected that Interpol will decide in a couple of days whether or not to issue red warrants for Hussain Haqqani. After the issuance of the red warrants, an FIA team will proceed to the US to arrest Mr Haqqani.

In December last year, three people had separately lodged FIRs against Hussain Haqqani with two police stations in Kohat for delivering hate speeches and writing books and articles against the armed forces and the ‘sovereignty of Pakistan’.

The complainants alleged that Mr Haqqani was responsible for the Memogate scandal and had issued visas to CIA and Indian agents while serving as Pakistani ambassador to the US. They argued that Mr Haqqani had maligned Pakistan in his books, “which proves that he is a traitor”.

The cases were registered under Sections 120(b) (hatching a criminal conspiracy) and 121(a) (waging a war against Pakistan) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Haqqani’s name recently echoed in the apex court during the hearing by a three-judge bench of a set of petitions moved by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and a group of citizens in connection with the right of overseas Pakistanis to participate in the democratic process. The case had reminded the chief justice of Hussain Haqqani.

In 2012, a judicial commission tasked with probing the matter had submitted its report to the apex court. It held  Haqqani guilty of authoring the controversial memorandum and said that he “is not loyal to the country”.

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