The controversy surrounding the mysterious memo is getting bigger. The former US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Admiral Mike Mullen, first feigned ignorance and has now admitted that he did receive it. Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani, who is accused of being the architect of the treacherous memo, has denied any knowledge of it. His tormentor, Mansoor Ijaz, has released its complete text and named Haqqani as the diplomat behind the secret communication. What makes the content of the memo alarming is the allegation that it was sent on behalf of President Asif Ali Zardari. Surely, this one can't be brushed under the carpet. This is not the first time that Hussain Haqqani is caught in the eye of a controversial storm. Serious questions were raised regarding his role as Pakistan's Ambassador in Washington DC on at least two earlier occasions. He was blamed for being responsible for issuing thousands of visas to Americans without proper scrutiny and in undue haste, facilitating the arrival of shady intelligence operatives in the country. He was also blamed for pushing the military-specific conditionalities included in the Kerry-Lugar Bill. On both occasions, news reports suggested that he was on the verge of being sacked, but he survived in office both times. The serious charges against him were not investigated, strengthening the impression that he was among President Zardari's indispensable core team members and, like Rehman Malik, he would not be removed from his position by the government at any cost. But this time, the cost could be very high. The contents of the mysterious memo, now made public, are explosive. The secret message that Mansoor Ijaz claims to have conveyed to Admiral Mullen on Hussain Haqqani's instructions in the aftermath of the Abbottabad raid, pressed upon the US to rein in the Pakistan military and ISI and offered to put in place a new security team approved by the US. Other than promising to allow the US oversight of Pakistan's nuclear weapons and to give a green light to US military operations on Pakistani soil, the memo promised to close down ISI's wing that keeps track of militant groups, to conduct security-related probes in line with American wishes, to punish those responsible for harbouring Osama bin Laden and to hand over the Mumbai blast suspects to India. If Hussain Haqqani has any role in the initiation of the memo, it clearly amounts to treason. Ambassador Haqqani has been summoned by the Government to Pakistan for an explanation, but until the writing of this column he had not made himself available. This delay does not go in his favour. Statements from Washington DC that deny any knowledge or role in the preparation of the memo are not enough. The fact that he had kept contact with Mansoor Ijaz, who is now implicating him in this sordid affair, also compromises his position. Haqqani has a point when he questions Mansoor Ijaz for first agreeing to pass on the memo and now squealing about it, but questioning his tormentor's credibility won't suffice in order to come clean on the scandal. The PPP core committee has decided to go for a thorough probe into the matter. As opposed to other controversies involving the Ambassador, this one is not only about an errant diplomat but involves the President, the supreme commander of Pakistan's armed forces. Nawaz Sharif is also calling for a probe, though he would like the matter to be investigated by a committee that is more efficient and authentic than those constituted by the government in the past. He has demanded a committee that enjoys the confidence of the opposition to investigate the matter, failing which his party would take the matter to the Supreme Court. It is actually in the government's interest to get to the bottom of the memo-mystery and remove the doubts about it that have cropped up in many minds. Treating the present controversy like other Haqqani-related matters that cropped up earlier would only deepen the suspicions regarding not only the Ambassador, but also about President Zardari and the PPP leadership. It also defies all logic for the government to retain a controversial Ambassador, who otherwise has nothing spectacular to show for his stint in Washington DC. He should be relieved of his duty on his arrival in Islamabad. After all, we will need him here to assist the probe into the memo-controversy. Although a person is supposed to be considered innocent until he is proven guilty, it is a democratic norm for public officials to resign when caught in such a situation. For Ambassador Haqqani, it is the third time that he is in the headlines for the wrong reasons, and it should be reason enough for him to be replaced. Offering to resign, as he has done, is no good. And if he doesn't have the decency to resign, the government should sack him until he has cleared his name. Though that is not how things have happened under President Zardari. Take the case of Rehman Malik, for instance, again someone who has a knack of creating controversies and has little to show for his tenure as the Federal Interior Minister. When his position was jeopardised by conviction by the courts, the favour of presidential pardon was bestowed upon him so that he could continue to play havoc with the security situation in the country. He was not even asked to answer the serious charges levelled against him by former Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza. In response, Rehman Malik, like Ambassador Haqqani, had only offered to resign. The question is: Why are some of these characters in the PPP so indispensable that the party leadership is willing to go to any lengths to protect them and retain them in important positions, despite negative repercussions for the entire party, the government and the State of Pakistan? The writer is an independent columnist. Email: