Islamabad - Pakistan Army said yesterday that recent claims made by country’s former ambassador to the United States regarding issuance of visas to US spies vindicated its position.

“Views of Husain Haqqani published in a mainstream US newspaper especially his account on issue of visas vindicate stance of Pakistan’s ‘state institutions’ [a reference to the army itself and its intelligence agencies]”, said military’s media wing Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).

It further said that the veracity of concerns about his role in the entire issue also stands confirmed.

The army broke its silence after Haqqani’s controversial article published in The Washington Post earlier this month about issuing of visas during Pakistan Peoples Party regime to US spies triggered a debate in the parliament.

Husain Haqqani in his article admitted about facilitating the stationing of American special operations and intelligence personnel on Pakistani soil. He said the ties he forged with then-President Barack Obama helped the US track down and kill former al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

“I had an advantage most ambassadors did not: I’d lived most of the Musharraf years in exile in Washington and had established close ties with members of Congress and other influential in policy-making,” said Haqqani.

A recently leaked document revealed that the then PPP government had authorised the ambassador to issue visas to any American recommended by the US Department of State, with applications clearly indicating their purpose of visit to Pakistan.

The claim put the PPP in jeopardy, with criticism coming from media and masses regarding the then government compromising Pakistan’s national interests.

Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said he had empowered Haqqani to issue visas to American citizens to speed up the process. “He (Haqqani) did not have the authority to issue visas to American security forces [at will],” said Gilani.

Memogate had made national headlines in October 2011, when Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz claimed to have received a message from Haqqani to deliver a confidential memo to then US Admiral Mike Mullen.

The ‘memo’ allegedly talked of a possible military takeover in the aftermath of the Abbottabad raid and sought ‘help’ from the US for the PPP government at the time in ‘reigning in the military and intelligence agencies’, exposing a rift between the then civilian government and country’s powerful defence establishment.

However, some analysts had questioned the logic of the claims made by Ijaz, suggesting that the affair was a conspiracy to embarrass the government or remove Haqqani.

Haqqani denied involvement but resigned over the controversy.

All this came after a raid by the US Navy SEAL Team 6 on al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s Abottabad compound on May 2, 2011, during which he was reportedly killed.

A judicial commission tasked with probing Memogate had, however, stated in its report that the memo was “indeed real” and authored by the former ambassador.

The commission said the purpose of writing the memo was to convince American authorities that Pakistan’s civilian government was US-friendly and that it was only the civilian setup that could stop the expansion of Pakistan’s nuclear programme.

The report also stated that through the memo, Haqqani wanted to convince the US over the formation of a new security team and that he wanted to head the team himself.

The commission said Haqqani had ‘forgotten’ that he was Pakistan’s ambassador to the US and accused him of violating the country’s constitution logic of the claims made by Ijaz, suggesting that the affair was a conspiracy to embarrass the government or remove Haqqani.

Haqqani denied involvement but resigned over the controversy.

All this came after a raid by the US Navy SEAL Team 6 on al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s Abottabad compound on May 2, 2011, during which he was reportedly killed.

A judicial commission tasked with probing Memogate had, however, stated in its report that the memo was “indeed real” and authored by the former ambassador.

The commission said the purpose of writing the memo was to convince American authorities that Pakistan’s civilian government was US-friendly and that it was only the civilian setup that could stop the expansion of Pakistan’s nuclear programme.

The report also stated that through the memo, Haqqani wanted to convince the US over the formation of a new security team and that he wanted to head the team himself.

The commission said Haqqani had ‘forgotten’ that he was Pakistan’s ambassador to the US and accused him of violating the country’s constitution.