By Imran Farooqi
While considering the memo as a plot against the national security, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI Chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha have left it to the Supreme Court to decide the case. But it is our misfortune that our rulers, some political leaders and media anchors, prior to the verdict of the Court, have started blaming army and ISI over the memogate issue directly or indirectly. In this regard, their irresponsible approach is not only misguiding the general masses, but also deepening the rift between the security forces and civil government.
In this connection, on December 22 this year, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, without naming army and ISI, presumed that conspiracies were being hatched to topple the democratically elected government, and state within state would not be tolerated.
In the backdrop of Gilani’s caustic remarks, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani stated on December 23, “The Pakistan Army has and will continue to support democratic process in the country.” Gen. Kayani elaborated that the army was fully cognizant of its constitutional responsibilities, while dispelling the speculations of any military takeover, adding that these were being used to divert the focus from the real issues. He emphasized that the issues of “national security need to be considered on merit alone, and there could be no compromise on the national security.”
No doubt, differences do exist between the civil and miltary leadership which could be reconciled by some third party or particularly after the verdict of the Supreme Court. But it is most regrettable that on the one hand, country’s multiple crises show that it is rapidly advancing towards a ‘failed state’ owing to the sinister designs of the external elements like US, India and Israeli which want to weaken Pakistan as the latter is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World, while on the other, some politicians are not only manipulating the memogate issue against each other, but are also targeting the armed forces and Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI.
However, some political leaders and members of the civil societies and media anchors have highly appreciated the statement of Gen. Kayani, while some of them have still maligned army and ISI. In this context, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif strongly condemned the statements by the Pakistan People’s Party leadership against the army, pointing out that it was the first time in history that the rulers of a country had subjected their own army to criticism. Quite contrarily to the statement of Shahbaz Sharif, The Pakistan Muslim League (N) President, Nawaz Sharif allegedly said on December 23 that he was ready for dialogue with other political parties for a permanent end to the role of army and ISI in the affairs of government.
Both Prime Minister Gilani and Opposition Leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan stated on December 19 that it was a day of assurances in the National Assembly that neither any undemocratic setup nor martial law would be accepted in the country. On the same day, Chief of the PML (N), Nawaz Sharif also presumed, saying that if army took over now, the situation would further deteriorate in the country. While 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, an American businessman of Pakistani who is the central character of the memo.
ISPR Spokesman Maj-Gen. Athar Abbas rejected this baseless report, published in the British paper, The Independent on December 13, which accused that DG ISI Lt. Gen. Pasha visited some Arab countries for permission to sack President Zardari.
But it is most deplorable that in other words, some political leaders, especially Nawaz Sharif have continuously been targeting Pak Army and ISI. Recently, feeling jealousy towards the larger processions of Tehreek-e-Insaf, Nawaz Sharif and Chaudhry Nisar have reiterated, “The army and intelligence agencies could not be allowed to play any political role…we have evidence that secret agencies [ISI] are supporting a certain political party. The agencies round up people for public meetings of that political party.”
In fact, either it is memogate case or any other issue, some Pakistan’s political parties disrepute country’s key security intuitions so as to misguide the common men to increase their voting lists. In this respect, President of the PML (N), Nawaz Sharif and leaders of Jamat-i-Islami have repeatedly been criticizing the Pak Army and ISI.
As regards our media, particularly most of the TV channels conduct controversial debate between politicians and commentators, contesting internal politics. They always need an issue for manipulation without bothering for the integrity of the country. Now-a-days, memogate case has provided them with golden opportunity to implicate the security agencies of Pakistan. Like the foreign enemies, by ignoring the sacrifices of Pakistan’s security forces and its superior secret agency, ISI, our media anchors and most of politicians or political experts pay no attention to national solidarity and cohesion among various civil and military institutes of the country. Their hostile remarks could further create division between the key institutions of Pakistan which is already facing subversive acts such as suicide attacks, ethnic crisis and sectarian violence at various regions—especially Karachi and Balochistan, organized by CIA, RAW and Mossad. While country’s armed forces are coping with the militants in some tribal areas, and ISI is engaged in thwarting the anti-Pakistan conspiracies besides foiling a number of subversive attempts through pre-arrests of the external agents and insurgents.
At this critical juncture, while situation demands selfless unity from every segments of the society, both our media and some politicians exploit every terror-incident or problem like the memogate issue against Pakistan. On renowned TV channels, our politicians and media commentators oppose their rivals for the sake of opposition. In this context, they opine as to what the people want, but conceal as to what people actually need? Particularly, it seems that a majority of Pakistan’s media anchors are on the payroll of external enemies.
It is of particular attention that in the past few years, US high officials, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and their media have intensified their blame game against Pak army and ISI, alleging them for cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan and for supporting the Afghan Taliban. On the other side, US-led India and Afghan government have been sending well-trained agents and militants in Pakistan, who commit various acts of sabotage in the country. Now by exploiting the memogate controversy, these foreign elements seek to bring about dissensions between civil and military institutions in order to cause further unrest in our country. In these terms, what the difference one can find between these anti-Pakistan external forces and our politicians including media anchors.
It is mentionable that General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, while taking note of the present critical situation on June 9, 2011, stressed upon national unity. He especially explained. “Any effort to create divisions among important institutions of the country is not in national interest…the people of Pakistan whose support the army has always considered vital for its operations against terrorists.” Notably, on March 6, 2008, Gen. Kiyani had clearly remarked, “The army would stay out of the political process.” He is still acting upon the principle of non-interference in political affairs.
Nonetheless, drastic implications of the ongoing precarious situation cannot be grasped by the general masses at large, who abruptly change their opinion without reason. Hence, they become easy prey to the internal politicians and journalists, unintentionally benefiting the external plotters who want to destabilize Pakistan by creating a rift between our general masses led by politicians on the one side and the security forces on the other.
While serving under the civil government, Pak Army and ISI are already protecting the security and national interests of Pakistan. So, it is suggested that our rulers, political parties and media must insist upon strong unity among the security forces and political leaders instead of misguiding the general masses. Otherwise, their negative statements and comments are likely to support the worst enemies of the country, who are engaged in nefarious designs to strengthen the hands of anti-Pakistan forces through baseless and unfounded allegations against the security agencies.