Pakistan Lifts Travel Ban on Former Diplomat

Posted January 30th, 2012 at 8:05 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistan has lifted a travel ban on its former ambassador to the United States who had been under investigation for his connection to a controversial memo urging U.S. help in reining in the military.

Husain Haqqani, who resigned his diplomatic post, said Monday he intends to travel to the U.S. to join his family there after meeting with leaders of the country's ruling Pakistan People's Party.

A Supreme Court commission had barred the former ambassador from leaving Pakistan while it probed the origins of a memo sent to Washington calling for U.S. help in preventing a military coup in Pakistan. The scandal, which is known as “memogate,” heightened tensions between Pakistan's government and military.

Haqqani told the commission earlier this month he had “no role in creating, drafting and/or delivering” the memo to Admiral Mike Mullen, the top U.S. military official at the time.

In October, Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz wrote a column in The Financial Times accusing Haqqani of writing the memo. The request was reportedly sent to Mullen last May, following the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in the garrison Pakistani town of Abbottabad.

Ijaz has refused to travel to Pakistan to testify before the commission because he says he thinks he will be detained. His lawyer says Ijaz is willing to record his testimony elsewhere and submit it to the commission investigating the scandal.

The Supreme Court on Monday also extended by two months the deadline for its commission to complete the probe into the memo. Haqqani has been required to return to Pakistan on four-day notice if demanded by the commission.