A Pakistan judicial panel ruled Tuesday that the country's former U.S. ambassador had been disloyal to his country by writing a memo asking U.S. military authorities to intervene in the event of a feared coup, a decision likely to deepen the estrangement between America and Pakistan during a critical phase of the Afghanistan war.
The panel ordered Husain Haqqani, who was forced out of his ambassador's job by the scandal, to return to Pakistan to face possible treason charges.
Haqqani has denied any role in writing the memo, and the U.S. has called the document a hoax aimed at poisoning Pakistan's relationship with America.
But the three-member panel's investigation concluded that Haqqani had drafted the memo, and that he has failed to account for $2 million missing from a secret embassy fund.
Haqqani, considered a close ally by senior U.S. officials, lives in the United States and teaches at Boston University.
"I'm not planning on returning to Pakistan, " when asked about the panel's demand. "I am hurt but not surprised by the claim of an ideological judiciary, motivated by politics and not law," Haqqani said. "My real crime is standing up for U.S.-Pakistan relations for Pakistan's sake, which is currently an unpopular position in Pakistan."
The memo stressed the possible need for U.S. intervention against a planned coup by Pakistan's military and spy agency. It stated that in exchange for U.S. help, the Pakistani government would give the green light for the U.S. to track down al Qaeda terrorists and Taliban leaders in Pakistan.
Although Haqqani denies having anything to do with the disputed memo he said, "many people around the world would argue that the memo's contents reflect a reasonable point of view that is in no way treason and certainly very much in line with global thinking." He added, "There is no legal case against me, which is why I have not been charged or tried but labeled guilty through a so-called fact-finding commission which made no effort to hear my version."
In May of last year, Pakistani American businessman Mansoor Ijaz said he delivered a memo from Haqqani to then Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen asking for help in averting a possible coup by Pakistan's military and spy agency against the fledging government.
It was just three days after U.S. Navy SEALs entered Pakistan on a mission to kill Osama bin Laden.
"Pakistani hardliners were embarrassed and angry," said a U.S. official on background. "They were working against U.S. interests and they got caught off guard and red-handed."
Ijaz had little credibility within U.S. military or intelligence circles. Adm. Mullen's office paid little attention to the Ijaz memo and dismissed it as fake, military officials said.
Sara A. Carter is The Washington Examiner's national security correspondent. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.