By Sajjad Shaukat
Although day by day, memogate scandal is unfolding new revelations, yet Pakistan’s defence analysts, political leaders and media anchors have ignored the real connections of the issue in wake of controversial debate.
On December 15, this year, the Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and ISI Chief Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha submitted their concise statements in the Supreme Court in the memogate controversy. In his reply, Gen. Kayani stated about the memo that a conspiracy was being hatched against the army and national security. In his reply, ISI Director General Shuja Pasha said that Mansoor Ijaz would not have been able to write the article in Financial Times without having evidence about the memo. He further pointed out that the article was part of a never-ending propaganda against ISI. He also requested the court to summon Mansoor Ijaz and direct him to produce proofs— BlackBerry data and computer of Husain Haqqani and order its examination.
Mansoor Ijaz, an American businessman of Pakistani origin who is central character of the memogate scandal also submitted his reply in the Supreme Court, claiming that he shared facts and evidences about the scandal with ISI Chief Lt. Gen. Pasha. Ijaz indicated that he sent the draft to Hussain Haqqani for review, who had assured him that he had his boss’s approval in Pakistan.
However, on October 10, 2011, The Financial Times published an article by Mansoor Ijaz who disclosed that on May10 this year, a secret memo was given by him to the then Admiral Mike Mullen, the US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff through former US National Security Advisor, Gen. James Jones. Mansoor Ijaz claimed that the memo, containing message from the Pakistan government, (Hinting President Zardari as the boss) was handed over to him by the then Pakistani Ambassador Hassain Haqqani to draft the same. Both Mullen and Jones confirmed the receipt of the memo.
Nevertheless, the controversial memo accuses Gen. Kayani of plotting to bring down the government in the aftermath of the Bin Laden assassination. It says that a new national security team should be put in place, which would give the US a green light to conduct operations on Pakistani soil to kill or capture all the top Al Qaeda leaders, and Pakistan’s nuclear assets. The ISI which was charged with maintaining ties with the Taliban and Haqqani network, would be cut down to size and Pakistani officers would be handed over to India in connection with the Mumbai terror-attacks of 2008. All this would be done, if the US intervened against the Pakistan Army and supported the civilian political set-up.
On the other side, the former Ambassador Hussain Haqqani faced queries before the civil and military leadership which concluded that his explanation was found “not satisfactory.” On November 22, he was asked by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to tender his resignation.
Meanwhile, some new revelations appeared about the memogate episode have made much uproar in the politics and media of Pakistan.
In this respect, in an article appeared in the Independent blogs, Ijaz allegedly wrote that he was told by a top US intelligence official that Lt. Gen. Pasha visited some Arab countries and secured a green light to overthrow the Zardari government.
While, on December 16, PML (N) filed an application in the Supreme Court to summon Pakistan’s High Commissioner to UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan in the memogate case, saying that during his interaction with foreign media, he had refused to rule out the possibility that Pakistani civil and military leadership might have been “aware beforehand” about the May 2 operation in Abbottabad, in which the US killed Osama.
Nonetheless, without knowing the real connections behind the memogate issue, some political elements are maligning Pak Army and especially ISI. In this context, on December 15, Opposition Leader of the PML Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and ANP parliamentarian Bushra Gohar demanded for resignation of the ISI director general over his alleged plot to oust the PPP government as alleged by Mansoor Ijaz.
Although to the extent of Hussain Haqqani and some key political figure, the memo may be true, but its real purpose is to distort the image of Pakistan, Pak Army and its superior intelligence agency. In this regard, both Mansoor Ijaz and Hussain Haqqani seem agents of American CIA. In line of the US blame game, Mansoor Ijaz has written a number of articles against Pakistan Army and ISI. Differences might have arisen between Ijaz and Haqqani, which might have compelled Mansoor Ijaz to disclose the truth about Hussain Haqqani. But at the same time, like some American high officials, Ijaz also raised a number of false accusations against Gen. Kayani and ISI Chief Pasha. In his new statement, Mansoor Ijaz has blamed on December 18 that Pakistan’s three civil and military officials helped him in preparing the memo.
Reliable sources have denied that Gen. Pasha visited any Arab country to get permission to oust the civilian government. It is also false allegation of Wajid Shamsul Hassan that both Pakistani civilian and military leadership might have been “aware beforehand” about the May 2 operation in Abbottabad. On the other side, US top officials had already stated that they did not inform Pakistan Army or ISI about the Abbottabad operation. No doubt, integrity of Shamsul Hassan is also doubtful as he has maligned our security agencies in tone of the US-led propaganda campaign.
As regards Hussain Haqqani, he seems to be main agent of the CIA as he was protecting American interests, while serving as Pakistani ambassador. He had issued visas to many CIA agents like Ramond Davis to destabilise Pakistan. In the US, while working at various institutes, Haqqani developed secret liasons with CIA and Indo-Israeli lobbies and became covert element of anti-Pakistan campaign. Particulary, this could be judged from his book, titled, “Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military.” In this book, Hussain Haqqani has targeted both military and Islamic ideology. While pointing out relationship of the Pak Army and ISI with the Islamic militants, Haqqani allegedly mentioned that since September 11, 2001, the selective cooperation of Pakistan’s military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf—sharing intelligence with the United States and apprehending Al Qaeda members—has led to the assumption that Pakistan might be ready to give up its long-standing ties with radical Islam. He advised America, “Washington should no longer condone the Pakistani military’s support for Islamic militants.”
Famous writers and authors exaggeratedly praised the book of Hussain Haqqani as it was in accordance with the hidden agenda and blame game of the US high officials and media which still continue against Pakistan. Especially, Stephen P. Cohen, author of the book, “The Idea of Pakistan and The Pakistan Army” allegedly wrote, “We are in Hussain Haqqani’s debt for providing the authoritative account of the linkages between Pakistan’s powerful Islamists and its professional army.”
Notably, quite contrarily to his previous statement, on December 17, in his reply to the Supreme Court, Gen. James Jones has declared the memo as unreliable and incredible, saying that he it had been written by Mansoor Ijaz instead of Hussain Haqqani who had no knowledge about the memo, and Mike Mullen did not believe in it.
It is mentionable that on December 4, Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, while rejecting the statements by Mansoor Ijaz regarding the memogate scandal had said, “Ijaz’s statements are fabricated”, and “are a pack of lies.”
All this shows that in fact, Americans are trying to save Hussain Haqqani and do not want any further investigation about the memo which was a conspiracy not only against the security of Pakistan, but also against its army and ISI.
It is regrettable that some leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party have also become emotional as without naming army or ISI, they have presumed that there is a plot against their government through the memogate issue, while our media anchors have been propagating that a rift has occurred between the civil and military leadership. In this context, senior anchors like Hamid Mir and Najam Sethi who are serving the interests of US and India clandestinely by sabotaging the national interests of Pakistan, are especially targeting Pak Army and ISI.
In this context, after meeting Gen. Kayani on December16, Prime Minister Gilani categorically rejected rumours that there was a standoff between the government and army over the memogate issue. Both agreed that replies forwarded by COAS and DG ISI were in response to SC notice, and in accordance with rules of business.
We can conclude in the words of Gen. Kayani that memo is a conspiracy against the army and national security. So let the Supreme Court inquire into the matter in order to know the real connections of the memogate scandal as already analyzed. And our political elements and media must stop baseless propaganda against Pak Army and ISI.