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Pakistan panel says former top envoy secretly asked for U.S. help

By Reza Sayah, CNN
updated 11:21 AM EDT, Wed June 13, 2012
Pakistan's former ambassador to the U.S., Hussain Haqqani (left) is believed to have asked for Washington's help in secret letter.
Pakistan's former ambassador to the U.S., Hussain Haqqani (left) is believed to have asked for Washington's help in secret letter.
  • Hussain Haqqani is former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S.
  • Some say he asked Washington through intermediary to help avert a coup
  • Pakistani judicial commission determined he did try this

(CNN) -- A judicial commission in Pakistan determined on Tuesday the country's ex-envoy to the U.S. tried to ask Washington to help avert a coup by Pakistan's powerful military and curb the army's power, according to a lawyer who attended the hearing.

The commission, made up of three Supreme Court Judges, was charged with investigating an alleged plan by Pakistan's former ambassador to the U.S., Hussain Haqqani, to ask for Washington's help through a secret letter to the Pentagon.

The scandal emerged shortly after the May 2011 raid on the Osama bin Laden compound by U.S. Navy seals, when rumors swirled about a possible military coup against Pakistan's civilian government.

A Pakistan-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz admitted writing the letter but he claimed the plan was hatched by Haqqani.

The commission essentially agreed with a finding that said Haqqani betrayed his country and violated the constitution, said Akram Shaikh, the lawyer representing the businessman Ijaz.

The scandal -- dubbed "memogate" by the Pakistani media -- led to the resignation of Haqqani and a public stand-off between the civilian government and the army.

The commission summoned Haqqani to Tuesday's hearing but the former ambassador was a no-show. Haqqani has been working as at Boston University and was not immediately available for comment. But on his Twitter account he wrote, "One-sided proceedings of Commission that refused to hear me will be challenged by my lawyers."

It wasn't clear if the commission's finding would lead to Haqqani being charged with a crime.

Journalist Nasir Habib contributed to this report.

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