- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The embattled former ambassador from Pakistan cited threats from “ideologically driven maniacs” as he defied his country’s highest court this week by refusing to return home for a hearing into a complex case involving accusations of treason and a shadowy figure who claims the ex-envoy was part of a political conspiracy.

Husain Haqqani outlined threats against his life, criticized the government’s security failures and denounced the charges against him in a seven-page letter his lawyer delivered to the Pakistani Supreme Court on Monday.

Even in his current position as a professor at Boston University, Mr. Haqqani continues to receive Internet threats from terrorists and from Pakistani intelligence sources who have supported the extremists, he said.

Mr. Haqqani also referred to the terrorist killings of several high-profile Pakistani reformers as evidence that the government “routinely fails to protect Pakistani citizens.”

“I am under constant threat from several sources including various Jihadi groups, whom I have criticized and opposed publicly, and [from] elements within the state apparatus that have supported and protected these terrorists elements over the years,” he said in his letter.

Mr. Haqqani resigned as ambassador in November 2011 after his name surfaced as part of a secretive plan to seek Pentagon help to prevent a feared Pakistani military coup against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Mansour Ijaz, a Pakistani-American businessman, claims that Mr. Haqqani in October 2011 asked him to arrange for the delivery of a letter from Mr. Zardari to Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The letter claimed that elements of the Pakistani military were angered over the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011 and were plotting to overthrow the civilian government.

Mr. Haqqani repeatedly has denied that he had any role in the conspiracy and blames political opponents of Mr. Zardari’s for creating a media “feeding frenzy” that adds to the inflammatory conditions in Pakistan.

He noted that the media portrays him as a traitor and “Pakistan’s Benedict Arnold,” even though he has neither been charged nor tried for any crime. The Supreme Court hearing is an inquiry into an earlier investigation into the controversy.

“I do not have faith in any security organization in Pakistan at the current moment,” Mr. Haqqani wrote.

“Which law enforcement agency or security organization can guarantee that their personnel will not be affected by this negative propaganda against me in an environment wherein people are being killed for their religious beliefs and even children administering the polio vaccine to infants are not safe from ideologically driven maniacs?”

Mr. Haqqani was referring to the high-profile killings of Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab province, and Bashir Bilour, a senior local government official in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, formerly known as the North West Frontier Province.

Taseer was killed in January 2011 by one of his security guards outraged by his support for reforming Pakistan’s brutal blasphemy laws. Bilour, another political reformer, died in a bomb attack in December.

Islamic terrorists also have been killing volunteers, some as young as 14, who have been vaccinating children against polio.

“I will not and cannot trust my personal safety in the hands of state machinery that routinely fails to protect Pakistani citizens,” Mr. Haqqani said.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email [email protected] The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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