London, Jan 4: Pakistan's embattled former ambassador to US, Husain Haqqani, fears he will be murdered if he leaves his sanctuary in the official residence of the Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, a media report today said.
Haqqani who is at the centre of the memo scandal said the allegations against him are part of a “psychological war” against Pakistan's civilian government by “certain powerful quarters.”
Haqqani said he has been branded a “traitor” and a “Washington lackey” by “powerful quarters” - a reference to the country's powerful ISI intelligence agency - and that he now fears he will be murdered like his friend, the late governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, who was shot dead by one of his own security guards last year after being branded a “blasphemer”, The Daily Telegraph said in its report.
Haqqani was forced to resign late last year after Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz claimed he had asked him to pass on a memo, on behalf of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, to the American government calling for their help to oust Islamabad's military leadership.
Both Haqqani and Zardari have rejected Ijaz's claims.
Haqqani told the daily that the allegations against him are false and part of a “psychological war” against the government of Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani by “certain powerful quarters.”
The daily said Haqqani was speaking after his lawyer, Pakistan's top human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir, revealed he had taken refuge in the prime minister's residence for fear that the ISI intelligence agency would force him to make a false statement on the affair.
“I'm a guest of the Prime Minister with whom I have had a long-standing political association. There are clear security concerns given the hysteria generated against me. Staying at the prime minister's house is the safest option.”
“My good friend Salman Taseer was killed by a security guard because he heard in the media that the governor had blasphemed. I'm being called a traitor and an American lackey in the media with the clear encouragement of certain powerful quarters even though I've not been charged legally with anything,” he said.
Haqqani said he had left the Prime Minister's home to go to “the Supreme Court once to meet my lawyer with very heavy security, and one day to the dentist, when I had a toothache, and to the Abbottabad Commission (into the American raid which killed Osama bin Laden), with massive security.
“If required I will appear before the inquiry commission with the necessary security. It is not what I would like to do. I'd like to be able to go to a restaurant or visit my family,” he added.
Haqqani said the president and prime minister are firmly standing behind him and that the government is not going anywhere.
“This is psychological warfare against the government,” he said.