Islamabad, Dec 20: Describing his stint in Washington as a “thankless assignment”, Pakistan's former envoy to the US Husain Haqqani today said American officials were “intransigent and even threatening” after the May 2 raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
“Anyone tasked with the job of representing Pakistan in the United States faces a tough and thankless assignment,” he made the revelations in a statement submitted to the judicial commission investigating bin Laden's presence in the country.
Pakistan's former envoy, who spent over three years in Washington, said US officials refused to apologise for violating Pakistani sovereignty during the covert operation in Abbottabad on May 2.
The former envoy was forced to resign after he was linked to an alleged memo that had sought US help to prevent a feared coup in the aftermath of the killing of bin Laden.
He said in his statement that he was on his way to Islamabad via London when the US raid took place.
Haqqani said he was instructed to return to Washington and to ensure that the “US government, Congress and media do not blame Pakistan's government, armed forces or intelligence services for allowing Osama bin Laden's presence in the country”.
55-year-old Haqqani said he was also told to “protest the violation of Pakistan's sovereignty by US forces in conducting the operation” against bin Laden.
“For their part, the US officials were intransigent and even threatening in their tone, another fact that I informed Islamabad of in official communications,” he said in the statement, a copy of which was accessed by PTI.
“They were not only unwilling to apologise for violating Pakistani sovereignty but demanded that Pakistan cooperate in giving access to data and persons found from the house in Abbottabad where the raid was conducted.
“They also demanded the return of the wreckage of the stealth helicopter that had been damaged and left behind during the operation,” he added.
Haqqani told the commission that no one in Pakistan had prior information about the US raid.
Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, who made public the secret memo sent to the US, had alleged that Haqqani and President Asif Ali Zardari had prior knowledge of the operation.
The former envoy, a close aide of Zardari, said US officials pointed to UN Security Council resolutions to justify their unilateral action in Abbottabad.
“I may add that while in Pakistan, violation of our sovereignty was seen as the principal issue, in the US everyone in and out of US government was focused on Osama bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad,” he said.
The Pakistani embassy in Washington had the task of ensuring that the “negative mood in the US does not result in aggressive sanctions or restrictions on Pakistan”.
Haqqani dismissed allegations by his critics that he had issued an unusually high number of unauthorized visas to US officials, including military and intelligence personnel.
“Let me state clearly for the record that these wild allegations are totally baseless and refuted completely by the official record,” he said.
Government departments, including the Inter-Services Intelligence, Interior Ministry and Joint Services Headquarters, which deal with security aspects related to visas, did not write to the embassy about the issue of unauthorised visas.
Two queries about visa issues by the Defence Committee of the Cabinet and the Joint Services Headquarters were satisfactorily answered by the embassy, Haqqani said.