LAHORE: Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Friday that he had empowered the former envoy to US Hussain Haqqani on the precondition that visas should be issued only to people who have been recommended by the State Department and whose purpose of visit is clearly identified. Gilani said this as a clarification to the controversy that stirred up following the revelation of a classified document issued by the prime minister’s secretariat on July 14, 2010. According to the letter, the PPP government had, at the highest official level, allowed the then ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani, to issue visas to American nationals, bypassing all security protocols in 2010. “Any embassy, especially in an important capital of the world has representation from security agencies. The letter clearly states that the ambassador may issue visas without referring every case back to Pakistan, but not bypass the embassy’s own paraphernalia. Empowering the ambassador is empowering the entire embassy with all its due process,” he remarked during an exclusive interview with Daily Times. “The purpose clearly was to expedite the process and not bypass it,” he added. It is pertinent to mention that Husain Haqqani had earlier admitted facilitating the stationing of American special operations and intelligence personnel on Pakistani soil and forging links that eventually allowed Washington to carry out the raid in Abbottabad to eliminate Osama bin Laden. Gillani said, “As PM, I made a statement on the floor of the house that the presence of Osama bin Ladenin Pakistan is what needs to be investigated and not the visa processes.” “We also know that the Special Operation Forces that participated in the Abbotabad raid did not come into Pakistan’s territory with any visas. The letter was routed through relevant/concerned ministries for their input,” he added. The former prime minister said all enquiries into any visa protocols must include visa regimes across 2002-2017. There is little point in investigating individuals; it is policies and processes that matter across the board and time, he added. “If the Abbotabad Commission Report is made public, most of these questions will be answered. The Shamsi Airbase was allowed by the Musharraf government to be used by the US. The PPP never granted any such permission and demanded that the US vacate the Shamsi Airbase,” he asserted. The PPP leader said that the entire purpose of making an issue out of this was to take attention away from questions that Pakistani people ask from the government.