ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - Pakistan's Supreme Court on Thursday issued an arrest warrant for Hussain Haqqani, a former ambassador to the United States, for failing to appear at a court hearing regarding a memo that allegedly sought U.S. help in reining in the Pakistani military.
A judicial commission set up by the court alleged that Haqqani wrote a memo in which he wanted to lead a civilian national security team set up with U.S. help; questioned the security of the country's nuclear arsenal; and said Pakistan's military intelligence agency maintained ties with the Taliban. The case has come to be known as "Memogate."
Haqqani allegedly wanted Mansoor Ejaz, an American businessman of Pakistani origin, to take the memo to U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen, who was then the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, in May 2011. The memo allegedly sought U.S. help against intervention by Pakistan's military in the aftermath of a raid that month that had killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
Haqqani, who is currently in the U.S., denied that he had anything to do with the memo.
On Thursday, the three-member bench, headed by Pakistan Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, issued a warrant for Haqqani's arrest for violating the oath of his office.
The high court questioned an official with the Pakistan Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) about what it had done to recall Haqqani. The FIA official said the agency had contacted Interpol about issuing a red warrant — a request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition — for the former Pakistani ambassador.
Haqqani, through a tweet, said of his arrest warrant: "Such political warrants have not been honored abroad in the past, won't work now."
Talking to Voice of America's Urdu service, Kamran Murtaza, former president of the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association, said that no other Pakistani ambassador has been the focus of an arrest warrant.
Haqqani resigned in 2011. He later came to Pakistan and appeared before a Pakistani court in connection with the memo.
After he assured the Supreme Court he would again appear if summoned, he was allowed to go to the United States. But he has not returned.