Following up on his original video deposition from late last month, Mansoor Ijaz, once again by video link from London, was subjected to cross-examination yesterday and today by the judicial commission investigating the Memogate scandal. Ijaz reiterated his primary claim he has made from the start, that his actions were prompted by a strong belief that a military coup was imminent on the heels of the US action that killed Osama bin Laden in May, 2011.
Although he did not list the countries, Ijaz claimed to have been briefed by intelligence agents from four different countries. He submitted multiple documents as his proof. The Express Tribune described the documents as including a transcript of a phone call between Pakistan’s President and Army Chief:
After Haqqani approached him first, Ijaz said, he used his contacts with intelligence agencies of various countries to obtain documents, including travel records of Director-General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, minute-by-minute Pakistan Air traffic Control flight monitoring of US helicopters which infiltrated Pakistani airspace for the May 2 raid, and a transcript of a call between President Asif Ali Zardari and Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
Interestingly, Dawn’s coverage of the cross-examination doesn’t specifically mention Zardari and Kayani by name as being in the transcripts, although it comes close:
During the cross-examination before the judicial commission investigating the case, the Pakistani-American businessman said he had been briefed by at least four intelligence networks of different countries after the killing of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 2, last year.
He said he had obtained the information about actions and reactions of Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, President Asif Ali Zardari and the military secretary to the president after the incident, details of foreign visits of the Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and transcripts of conversation between air traffic control staff and the pilots of the US helicopters which raided Osama’s compound.
He also claimed to have the transcripts of conversations between the President’s House and the Army House on the operation.
How is it that an American citizen of Pakistani descent would have access to intelligence agencies of so many countries? And, especially, how could Ijaz come into possession of a transcript of a call between Zardari and Kayani? Continue reading
On Tuesday, noting the felony charge Raymond Davis faces in Colorado over a parking lot fight, I asked what happened to the investigation the US promised regarding Davis killing two Pakistanis in Lahore earlier this year. It turns out I’m not alone in asking that question. Karen DeYoung at the Washington Post reports that Pakistan has made a formal request for an update on the investigation. In other Pakistan news breaking this afternoon, we learn that a commission in Pakistan has urged filing of conspiracy and high treason charges against the doctor who assisted the CIA by setting up a fake immunization program in order to gain access to the suspected compound where Osama bin Laden was hiding.
It turns out that Pakistan asked about the Davis investigation a day before I did. From DeYoung’s post:
In an Oct. 3 diplomatic note to Justice and the State Department, Ambassador Husain Haqqani referenced “the ongoing investigation” and asked that “the latest status in the matter may kindly be conveyed to the Embassy.” Haqqani said no reply had yet been received.
Asked the same question, Justice spokesperson Laura Sweeney declined to comment on the department’s behalf.
DeYoung also provides further background on the initial steps taken in the US to start the Davis investigation:
In a May 26 letter to Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Mary Ellen Warlow, director of the Criminal Division of Justice’s international affairs office, said that the department was “currently investigating” the Lahore shooting and requested that Pakistan “take steps to preserve all evidence relating to these events” and set up a liaison officer at the embassy to handle the matter.
That, Pakistan says, is the last it heard.
Note that this letter to Pakistan came over two months after Davis was released in mid-March. If that letter was the last Pakistan heard about the investigation, it seems safe to assume that no US investigators have been to Pakistan to examine the evidence Pakistan was instructed to preserve or to interview witnesses. Also, it remains unclear whether the investigation into Davis’ actions also is to include investigation into the vehicle which struck and killed a pedestrian after it was dispatched from the consulate in Lahore to rescue Davis.
Voice of America brings us the news on the recommendation of treason charges against the Pakistani doctor:
A Pakistani commission said Thursday that the government should file conspiracy and high treason charges against Shakeel Afridi.
Afridi is accused of running a fake vaccination campaign to help U.S. intelligence obtain DNA samples of bin Laden and his family.
The Pakistani government set up the commission to investigate how U.S. forces managed to track down bin Laden and carry out the operation without Pakistan’s prior knowledge.
The article goes on to inform us that this same commission also interviewed Ahmad Shuja Pasha, who heads Pakistan’s main intelligence organization, the ISI. In addition, the commission interviewed bin Laden’s wives and children. The commission is headed by a Supreme Court judge, but it is not clear how binding its recommendations will be.
The pattern by now is all too familiar. Once again, the US is ratcheting up its rhetoric against Pakistan. Earlier instances included the “crisis” when the US killed three Pakistani soldiers and Pakistan responded by closing strategic border crossings. This was followed by the Raymond Davis fiasco. Then came exchanges of bluster over the US unilateral action that took out Osama bin Laden. Now, the target of US ire is the cozy relationship between the Haqqani network and Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI.
Reporting for Reuters, Mark Hosenball and Susan Cornwell tell us this morning that some in the US intelligence community are now assigning a direct role for ISI in the Haqqani network attack on the US embassy in Kabul:
Some U.S. intelligence reporting alleges that Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) specifically directed, or urged, the Haqqani network to carry out an attack last week on the U.S. Embassy and a NATO headquarters in Kabul, according to two U.S. officials and a source familiar with recent U.S.-Pakistan official contacts.
The article informs us that the Senate Appropriations Committee has added to the pressure on Pakistan:
The Senate committee approved $1 billion in aid to support counter-insurgency operations by Pakistan’s military, but voted to make this and any economic aid conditional on Islamabad cooperating with Washington against militant groups including the Haqqanis.
A series of high-level meetings between US and Pakistani officials also has taken place over the last week to hammer home these allegations against Pakistan, despite this warning in the Reuters article:
However, U.S. officials cautioned that the information that Pakistan’s spy agency was encouraging the militants was uncorroborated.
A series of articles on the website for Pakistan’s Dawn news agency provides some perspective on the coverage of the issue in Pakistan. One article provides a forum for Interior Minister Rehman Malik after his meeting with FBI Director Robert Mueller yesterday: Continue reading