Zardari’s media advisor says she fears abduction by ISI: report

Farahnaz Ispahani is the wife of Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani.

Written by Agencies | London | Published: January 23, 2012 2:07:41 pm

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s media adviser Farahnaz Ispahani has alleged that she ran away from the country over fears that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) might kidnap her to force her husband,Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani,to sign a confession and implicate the president in the memogate scandal.

“What we’re seeing is the systematic killing or silencing of anyone who stands up to the institutionalisation of a militarised Islamist state,who advocates positive relations with the West or stands up for tolerance,” The News quoted Ispahani,as saying.

“I’m scared,the government can’t even protect itself,” she added.

Ispahani said this while talking to a British journalist,Christina Lamb,who claimed in her Sunday Times article that Pakistan”s military is “steadily silencing opponents” and conducting a soft coup.

Lamb,a foreign correspondent for The Sunday Times,who filed story on Pakistan from Washington,is banned from entering Pakistan after being deported from the country in 2001.

She wrote that the Memo Gate scandal involving Haqqani,who is facing trial for treason,was “trumped up”.

Lamb wrote that Haqqani’s life was in danger and his wife Ispahani had fled to Washington amid fears that “ISI might kidnap her to force her husband to sign a confession and implicate the president.”

Haqqani returned to Pakistan in November and resigned as ambassador in a bid to end the crisis. He denies that he had anything to do with the memo and says he is fighting the traditional foes of civilian government in Pakistan.

“Since the 1980s,there are powerful interests within the permanent state apparatus as well as outside who want to control the definition of what it means to be a Pakistani patriot,” Haqqani said.

He avoided naming the powerful Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI),but it was clear he considers parts of the military spy agency responsible for his troubles in a scandal that the media has dubbed “Memo Gate.”

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