By Sajjad Shaukat
Much has been said by Pakistan’s defence analysts, political experts and leaders of the political parties regarding memogate scandal, relating to Hussain Haqqani the Paksitan’s former ambassador to United States. While in this respect, some political elements have continuously been targeting Pakistan’s security agencies, so this sensitive issue needs an appropriate analysis in order to know the reality.
In this regard, on October 10, 2011, The Financial Times published an article by Mansoor Ijaz, an American businessman of Pakistani origin, who disclosed that on May10 this year, a secret memo was given by him to the then Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff through former US National Security Advisor James Jones. Mansoor Ijaz claimed that the memo, containing message from the Pakistan government, was handed over to him by the Pakistani Ambassador Hassain Haqqani. Both Mullen and Jones confirmed the memo.
However, the controversial memo accuses Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Ashfaq Pervez 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 would be put under a verification regime. The ISI which was charged with maintaining relations 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, 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. Haqqani’s diplomatic passport was also confiscated. Gilani told that the main player of the memogate scandal Mansoor Ijaz would also be summoned.
Without knowing the real facts, the Chief of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has filed a petition in the Supreme Court on November 23 over the memogate scandal, asking for action against the respondents—besides others these include President Asif Ali Zardari, former ambassador to US Husain Haqqani, Mansur Ijaz, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Kayani and ISI Chief Lt. General Ahmad Shuja Pasha.
In this respect, Nawaz Sharif and some other political leaders must know as to how it was possible that Gen. Kayani and ISI chief remain silent by allowing Americans to kill or capture Al Qaeda leaders directly in Pakistan, and will tolerate US team to take control of the nuclear assets of the country. Some recent developments verify this fact that Pak Army and civil government have rejected US pressure tactics to do more against the Haqqani network in the North Waziristan as remarked by ISI Chief Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha in the All Parties Conference on September 29.
General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, while taking note of the present critical situation on June 9 this year, stressed upon national unity in wake of US pressure for military operation in North Waziristan. Kayani 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. However, another aim of the secret memo is to create a rift between the civil-military relationship and sabotage the democratic system of the country.
It is mentionable that during her latest trip to Pakistan, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton agreed with Pakistan’s stance and remarked, “Now US is realizing that launching new military operation in North Waziristan does not suit Pakistan’s situation.” She was also convinced to accept “other means for tackling the issue of militancy through intelligence sharing. She also admitted that there was no evidence of ISI involvement in bombing of the American embassy in Kabul.
Nevertheless, major purpose of the memo is to target the Pak Army and ISI. In this context, on November 20, Mansoor Ijaz blamed that he met ISI Chief Lt. Gen Shuja Pasha in London on October 22 along with evidence, and had informed him about Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani in relation to the memo.
On the other hand, some reliable sources of army and ISI have denied any meeting between the Gen. Shuja Pasha and Mansoor Ijaz. When memogate scandal came to the knowledge of civil and military authorities, Hussain Haqqani was forced to resign and initial probe is under process against him.
In fact, the memo scandal is a conspiracy not only to distort the image of Pakistan but also to malign the Pak Army and its superior intelligence agency. In this regard, both Mansoor Ijaz and Hussain Haqqani are agents of American CIA. In line of the US blame game, Mansoor Ijaz has written a number of articles against Pakistan’s army and ISI.
As regards Hussain Haqqani, who had also served as an adviser to the former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was main agent of the CIA. 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, he was formerly the Director of the Center for International Relations and an associate professor at Boston University.
Besides, working at various American institutes, Hussain 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 indicated 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. In the book, 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.”
Here, question can also arise in the minds of people as to why ISI did not take action earlier against Hussain Haqqani. The reply is that there was no solid evidence against him like the memo, and this agency only provides information to the civilian rulers who are supposed to take any action. However, uncompromising differences might have been created between Hussain Haqqani and Mansoor Ijaz who decided to disclose the real story through the memo so as to fulfill American multiple schemes against Islamabad.
But it is most regrettable that some political leaders, especially Nawaz Sharif have continuously been targeting Pak Army and ISI in order to increase their vote bank or to incite the army to topple the government. On November 2, Nawaz Sharif has 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.”
Nonetheless, being a professional soldier, prior to the elections in 2008, Chief of Army Staff, General Kiyani had already determined the new role of the army by de-linking it from the civil affairs. In addition, on March 6, 2008, he clearly stated that “the army would stay out of the political process.” He is still following the principle of non-interference in politics. So, it is suggested to the Pakistan Muslim League (N), and other opposition leaders that instead of targeting Pakistan’s agencies, particularly Pak Army and ISI, they should better bring a no-confidence motion in the parliament to change the government in accordance with the constitution.
Consequently, by setting aside the sacrifices of the Pakistan’s army and ISI, Nawaz Sharif and some other hostile elements must not manipulate the memogate scandal to malign these security agencies which are still coping with militants in some tribal areas besides facing a perennial wave of suicide attacks and assaults on the security check posts with the sole aim to maintain the integrity of the country.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations