By Zaheerul Hassan
On the late night of December 21, 2011 another twist was given to the memo scandal, when the federal government, through the Ministry of Defence, conceded before the Supreme Court that it had no operational control over the armed forces as well as the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Next day, Prime Minister of Pakistan Yousaf Raza Gillani in an irresponsible manner outspokenly criticized armed forces and ISI while indirectly confirming the ministry of defence statement during his address to the ongoing session of the country’s supreme institution i.e. “Parliament”. Revealed arguments of Ministry of Defence and leader of the house probably lack wisdom since his wording of address in the parliament would never be helpful in minimizing the tension but of course would add in the prevailing friction between the vital organs of the country.
While addressing a gathering at the launch of an exhibition of rare photographs of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Pakistan Movement at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA), Gilani said that he was there to serve the people of Pakistan. He also stated that “conspiracies are being hatched to pack-up an elected government. Prime Minister very immaturely behaved while saying that there should be no ambiguity about it and nobody should claim themselves as independent state. They are being paid from the State Exchequer, from your revenue and from your taxes. He further disclosed that if somebody thinks that they are not under the government, they are mistaken. “They are under the government and they remain under the government, because we are the elected representatives of the people of Pakistan.” At the same time, contradictory to it while commenting on the under discussion issue he said, “We have the highest respect and regard for the army of Pakistan as they have stood firmly against the extremist and terrorists, confronting the country. Prime Minister also stated that in the worst circumstances we doubled their salaries. They have to be accountable to parliament. In fact, Prime Minister’s speech has not been well received publically since it shows panic on memo issue in the government circle. It is not understood that why Prime Minister Gillani tried to shamble out his under command forces once nobody from ruling elite is involved in memo issue. The investigations on memo issue is under its way of in the Supreme Court and Parliamentary Committees of Defence and National Security(PCDNS) but probably government is trying to get herself martyred without waiting the ultimate outcome of the investigations. In short the Prime minister’s indirect comments on the forces and prime intelligence agency proved the impuissance of the government’s graph and failing of resolving general publics’ main issues.
Meanwhile, ISPR issued a press release to curb the rumours about the coup. According to ISPR, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, COAS during his visited of forward posts in Mohmand and Kurram Agencies on 22 December 2011 in a question-answer session affirmed the nation that the Pakistan Army would continue to support the democratic process and dismissed rumours of a military takeover. He strongly dispelled the speculations of any military takeover and stated that these are misleading and are being used as a bogey to divert focus from the real issues. He very rightly emphasized that the issues of national security need to be considered on merit alone and stated that there can be no compromise on national security. He also appreciated the successes achieved while eliminating terrorism and restoring peace in the country. At this occasion General Kayani said that no one can put a price tag on the sacred blood of martyrs of the nation. The men and women of Pakistan Army are performing the duty of defending Pakistan in accordance with the oath they took. The commitments toward democracy of a professional soldier again were appreciated and well received both in government and opposition circle. We must remember here that prior to the elections 2008 Gen Kiyani had already determined the new role of army by de-linking it from the civil affairs. Earlier, on March 6, 2008, he clearly pointed out in a meeting of the corps commanders that “the army would stay out of the political process”, and reaffirmed the army’s “commitment to the solidarity and integrity of Pakistan” which could be “possible with the full support of People”. His decision has then been greatly appreciated by both the intellectuals and the general masses.
The debate on memo issue on electronic media and controversy over the forum of investigations has dragged the country into political turmoil and provided a chance to the anti Pakistan forces to get benefit out of ongoing situation. Unfortunately, irrespective of political affiliation, our political leadership has dealt the issue in question according to their set political agenda. It was only army and ISI who first asked the government to carry out the investigations since serious allegations have been leveled against the ruling elite of the country by an American citizen Mr. Mansoor Ijaz. Later on, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and Director General Inter Services Intelligence (DGI) have filed their affidavits as asked by Supreme Court. Thus, dragging and criticizing Army and ISI Chiefs is baseless and not understandable. ISI chief, Lt Gen Pasha is the one who took a very daring stand on security issue while dealing with his counterpart of CIA. It is ISI which always unfolded the foreign conspiracy against Pakistan and as result foreign intelligence agencies and media always maligned ISI and Pakistan security agencies and also tried to create rift between political and military leadership. Memogate appears to be part of a bigger conspiracy designed by the enemies of Pakistan allegedly in collaboration with Pakistani high-ups not only to defame Pakistan but also to destabilize the country. The issue points at the possibility that it is a part of the campaign to weaken Pakistan.
Our leadership must understand that the widening of gap between the institutions would also provide a chance to the foreign forces to criticise the sensitive organs of Pakistan. Prime Minister of Pakistan should remember the saying of renowned Scholar, Professor Hostli, in which he said that, “issues and situations” have “influence on public opinion—which in turn influences the objectives and actions”. Our political leadership must know that it is our armed forces and intelligence agencies, those always stood up shoulder to shoulder to sacrifice their lives. More than 3000 soldiers and over 50000 civilian have sacrificed their lives during war on terrorism. The government and other politicians should stop behaving immaturely since regional and international media is fully covering the ongoing Memo controversy in Pakistan giving updates and analysis of the case in a chronological manner as emanating from international news agencies and Pakistani media. The mood of regional media (Indian) on coverage of the issue appears to be scornfully ridiculing for Pakistan as it projects the palpable rift and lack of trust among the state institutions. Domestic media is also acting as a forerunner in exposing the blame game against the top state institutions, disregarding the consequences of such outlandish exchange of public culpability.
The only way out of the current situation is, “Memo Issue” should be investigated fairly by the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) and in PCDNS. At the same time , no one should be allowed to ridicule, scoff at the case and point a finger at SCP. Pakistani media should also try to handle the issue with care and educate the nation to show solidarity and unity at this critical moment of the country. We as one nation must behave in responsible manners and save our country from destabilize politically and militarily
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