ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Husain Haqqani, the embattled Pakistani ambassador to the United States, resigned Tuesday in the wake of accusations that he had sought U.S. help to rein in the powerful Pakistani military after the U.S. raid in May to kill Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
The accusations center on a memo that Mansoor Ijaz, a U.S. businessman of Pakistani origin, said Haqqani asked him to have it delivered to Adm. Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to Ijaz, the memo asked for U.S. help in heading off a possible military-led coup and promised concessions in return.
The accusations, which Haqqani denies, created a political storm in Pakistan, where anti-U.S. feelings run high and Haqqani is considered by some to be an apologist for the United States.
He has also made enemies among some in the military for his criticisms of the army before he became ambassador. Some analysts believe that the military's leaders, who wield the real power in the country, pushed for the government to oust Haqqani.
Some U.S. officials Tuesday expressed concern that Haqqani's exit could complicate attempts by the United States and Pakistan to repair badly strained relations.
Political commentators said President Asif Ali Zardari, who considered Haqqani a close aide, appeared to have decided to distance himself from the controversy for political considerations.
Zardari and his party hope to maintain power past elections in 2013, and analysts say he was likely to be reacting to the military, opposition figures and the country's aggressive media, which had all begun to pummel him for a lack of action on the memo.
Arif Nizami, editor of the English-language daily newspaper Pakistan Today said by handing over the investigations to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, an adversary of Haqqani, Zardari had already indicated that he was wary of tensions that exist between the civilian government and the military.
The matter first surfaced last month in a Financial Times column by Ijaz, who claimed he had delivered the memo on the instructions of a senior Pakistani diplomat.
Haqqani supporters have questioned Ijaz's credibility and suggested the scandal is an elaborate setup by Pakistani intelligence.
Material from The Washington Post is included in this report.