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Pakistani Ambassador To U.S. Offers Resignation Amid Memo Controversy

Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani
WASHINGTON -- Pakistan's ambassador to Washington has offered to resign from his post amid speculation that he was involved in a request for U.S. help to control his country's powerful military.

A Pakistani diplomat familiar with the situation confirmed to RFE/RL that Ambassador Husain Haqqani offered to step down in a letter sent to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

Haqqani has been summoned to Islamabad over the controversy, which was triggered by an October 10 column in the "Financial Times."

The column, written by a Pakistani-American, alleged that a senior Pakistani diplomat had tried to pass a memo written by President Zardari to Admiral Michael Mullen, then the top U.S. military officer, seeking help to curtail Pakistan's powerful military.

According to the column, Zardari was reportedly worried that the U.S. raid that killed former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May had so humiliated his civilian government that the military might try to stage a coup.

Local media reports identified Haqqani as the senior diplomat who tried to pass along the note.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry has called the story "a total fabrication."

In an email to French new agency AFP, Haqqani also denied the allegations and said he had offered to resign "to bring to an end the current controversy and allow the democratic government, for which I have worked very hard, to move on."

The Pakistani diplomat who spoke to RFE/RL said the ambassador will leave Washington for Islamabad in “two or three days’ time” to “explain his position.”

Islamabad has not decided whether to accept Haqqani's resignation.

with additional agency reporting