The Saudi embassy in Islamabad stayed in touch with the Haqqani Network and also facilitated medical treatment for militant group’s leader, reveals cables published by Wikileaks.
The cables, published by WikiLeaks, have provided a rare insight into the contacts between Saudi officials and the Haqqani Network in the recent past.
The Saudi foreign ministry had — in a statement released after WikiLeaks started publishing the cables — expressed concern over their public release, but said the information contained in the leaked documents did not contradict Saudi Arabia’s known position on foreign policy matters.
The Saudi government has, meanwhile, not acknowledged these cables as authentic and asked its citizens to ignore them.
One of the cables, signed by former Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Aziz Ibrahim Saleh Al Ghadeer, details his meeting with Nasiruddin Haqqani, one of the sons of Haqqani network chief Jalaluddin Haqqani. The meeting between the ambassador and Nasiruddin took place on February 15, 2012.
The venue of the meeting has not been mentioned, but the ambassador usually held meetings either at the embassy or his residence, both of which are located in the heavily guarded Diplomatic Enclave and remains under the watchful eyes of Pakistani intelligence agencies, says the cable.
During the meeting, Nasiruddin conveyed his father’s request for treatment at a Saudi hospital, in view of his medical condition, to King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.
Another cable, dated February 25, 2012, says that the nature of ailment had been explained to Ambassador Ghadeer. The communication, however, did not precisely mention the disease from which he was suffering.
Media accounts claimed that Jalaluddin, who would have been 62 years old in 2012, was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, while another news report said he was a patient of Lupus.
Ambassador Ghadeer’s cable noted that Jalaluddin was based in Waziristan at the time and that doctors had recommended his hospitalisation.
The meeting between Nasiruddin and the Saudi envoy took place a fortnight after Afghan President Hamid Karzai met then-President Asif Zardari and then-Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to ask for their help in arranging a meeting with Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Gen Kayani, according to one of the Saudi cables, had suggested that Karzai meet the Haqqani leadership. Karzai had told Gen Kayani that he did not have any qualms meeting with the Haqqani leaders, but feared that they would not be willing to see him.