Ex-ambassador Haqqani waits for his passport

hhWASHINGTON: Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, applied for a new Pakistani passport 11 weeks ago but has not yet received it, he has told Dawn.

But an official at the Pakistan Embassy, Washington, dispelled the impression that the government had decided not to issue a passport to the former ambassador for his alleged anti-Pakistan views.

Since the introduction of a new computerised system, “the embassy only forwards applications to Islamabad. All decisions are made there,” the official said.

Mr Haqqani said he applied for an urgent passport on June 8, which should have been issued in two to four weeks, “but almost 11 weeks have passed and I am still waiting for a decision”.

Mr Haqqani said he personally went to the embassy and completed the required procedure, which includes filing data into the computer, being pictured and fingerprinted and paying the fees for an urgent passport.

“In the electronic filing system, the computer refuses to accept an application if it has any objection but in my case, the computer showed no objection, no issue,” he said.

“So I do not understand this delay. Is it bureaucratic incompetence or a political decision?” he asked.

The embassy official, however, said he had no reason to believe that the government did not want to issue a passport to Mr Haqqani. “The application has been received and a passport will be issued when the process completes.”

Mr Haqqani said he was a born Pakistani citizen and he also submitted a copy of his green card as evidence that he “only has one citizenship, that of Pakistan”.

“My name is not on the exit control list either and my papers are complete. I should be issued a passport as soon as possible, as I have only one passport,” he said.

Mr Haqqani also said that no law allowed the government to withhold the passport of a citizen because he disagreed with the government or with national policies.

The former ambassador explained that the Judicial Commission that investigated the so-called Memo­gate scandal had refused to declare him a traitor.

During the 2012 Memo­gate scandal Mr Haqqani was accused of inviting a retired US general to interfere in Pakistan’s internal affairs, a charge he vehemently denies.

While examining the commission’s report, the Supreme Court observed that Mr Haqqani was neither an accused nor did he face a formal trial. “So there’s no judicial ground for denying me a passport either,” Mr Haqqani said.

There has been no hearing of the case since July 12, 2012. -DN

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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