Memogate: Zardari terms memo conspiracy against PPP govt

Published: November 19, 2011

PM Gilani (left) said the government had defended the military and the ISI whenever there was crisis in the past and will continue to do so in the future as well. President Zardari (right). Photo: file

WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: 

All the names are out in the open. The secret memo is secret no more.

Now, all that remains to be seen is how Pakistan’s civilian leadership will handle the consequences of the allegations being levelled against it.

The first part of this remaining chapter was written in the Presidency on Friday, with President Asif Ali Zardari meeting his close associates – better known as the core committee.

The president is being quoted as telling the meeting that the controversy surrounding the memo, purportedly secretly sent on his behalf to now retired chairman US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, was part of a concerted effort against his party’s government – that it is a conspiracy.

“When I have direct access to the US president, why should I be using intermediaries,” Zardari told the core committee.

The meeting was held in the wake of increasing pressure on the government following Mullen’s confirmation that he had received such a memo asking for US support in reining in Pakistan’s powerful military and intelligence apparatus.

The president told participants that the man who has put forward the claims, Mansoor Ijaz, had contacted him twice when he was in New York after release from jail during Gen. Musharraf’s regime – but Zardari declined to meet him. “BB (Benazir Bhutto) had warned me to stay away from this man. We will see on whose behest Mansoor Ijaz was playing this game,” a participant of the meeting quoted Zardari as saying.

The president’s spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that the meeting decided that Ambassador Hussain Haqqani will be given a fair chance to give his version before decisions are reached.

PM tries to calm things down

Over in the National Assembly, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani did his utmost to calm a fiery opposition that was calling for treason charges against those involved in the controversy.

“Be patient. Don’t panic. The country is not disintegrating … we will resolve this issue,” Gilani calmly said.

Some lawmakers called for a parliamentary probe, but Gilani did not agree with the demand and insisted that the government had already initiated action by summoning Haqqani to Islamabad to explain his position. “Let him (ambassador) come back. He will give an explanation to the Pakistani leadership,” Gilani added in a brief speech after which he left the house to attend the PPP core committee meeting.

Gilani said the government had defended the military and the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) whenever there was crisis in the past and will continue to do so in the future as well.

Haqqani denies he drafted memo

Ambassador Haqqani, meanwhile, vehemently defended himself, reiterating that neither did he draft the memo, nor did he ask anyone else to.

The ambassador said he was due to board a flight to Pakistan late Friday evening. “I do not have my itinerary in front of me, but I am scheduled to board a flight later tonight, I may adjust my flight due to some reasons, but I will be returning to Pakistan,” Haqqani said, adding that he was suffering from high blood pressure.

Speaking to Express News from Washington, Haqqani did not deny that there was a memo delivered to Mullen. “Ijaz is a very rich, influential man; he has drafted the memo and managed to deliver it to Admiral Mullen.”

In reference to an exchange of messages between him and Ijaz printed in a newspaper on Friday, Haqqani said that the Pakistani press does not verify facts. The only verifiable element in the conversation was the date on which the ambassador was in London. “Yes, I was in London on an official visit, however anyone could have given that information out,” the ambassador said.

Haqqani said that he had stood for Pakistan and the army in the most difficult of times especially during the Kerry-Lugar bill. “[Even] After the Abbottabad incident, I defended the Pakistan army in front of the whole world,” he said.Haqqani also alluded to possible threat against his life citing what he termed incitement by media as had happened in the murder of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer.

Mansoor Ijaz refuses to back off

“The memo’s content in its entirety originated from [Haqqani],” Mansoor Ijaz told news agency Reuters.  “At a certain point he started talking so fast, I opened up my computer and I started typing the basic outline of the verbal message he wanted me to transmit.

“He was originally asking me to deliver a verbal message. And when I went back to my US interlocutors – all three of them – said they wouldn’t touch this unless it was in writing.”

(Read: The case of the curious memo)

Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2011.

Reader Comments (29)

  • Mohammad Ahmed Khan
    Nov 19, 2011 - 5:34AM

    Although most of the contents are correct, however should not send to Washington. Despite handle themselves. PPP thought that Army is humiliated like in 1971 (and to some extent they were right) and before they get out of this turmoil, bring them at their actual position but the problem is, our political elite have no moral ground.

    Another best example of mishandling . . .

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  • Mohammad Ahmed Khan
    Nov 19, 2011 - 5:36AM

    “When I have direct access to the US president, why should I be using intermediaries,” Zardari told the core committee.

    Simple answer. ISI bugs your everything.

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  • Mohammad Ahmed Khan
    Nov 19, 2011 - 5:39AM

    News: PM tries to calm things down.
    Our reaction: As usual. mati pao policy

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  • Ch Allah Daad
    Nov 19, 2011 - 5:42AM

    Military bosses are thankless people. They should have been court martialed after OBL drama.

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  • Karachi Muhajir
    Nov 19, 2011 - 6:25AM

    Our boys in uniform are upto no good yet again

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  • Ben
    Nov 19, 2011 - 6:27AM

    Pakistan’s history is replete with successive attempts of the powerful military overthrowing corrupt and weak civilian governments. All these attempts were made successfully without bloodshed and, ironically with the tacit approval of the masses who would subsequently endorse such attempts through celebrations. However, here is a unique attempt to overthrow the powerful military by the weak and corrupt civilian government. The most striking feature of this abortive coup is the attempt to seek the support of a foreign military to defeat country’s own security establishment. This is interesting, unprecedented and downright shameful, if not treasonous.

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  • Fareedi
    Nov 19, 2011 - 6:36AM

    Oh… I thought you would say “a conspiracy against Democracy”… The problem is that even if you are true about this No one shall believe you? Besides why7 should anyone believe that your closest and most trusted Haqqani sb. acted on his own in your favor without your council… Come on man if you do something at least have the Guts to own it!

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  • Gill
    Nov 19, 2011 - 6:46AM

    AZ, a man should have courage to accept his actions as well the related consequences. The nation is sick of your dirty politics. Please spare us.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Nov 19, 2011 - 7:01AM

    There are two different versions: Haqqani says that the memo was not drafted and delivered by him, whereas Mansoor Ijaz is providing every proof to confirm that he took dictation of the memo from Hussain Haqanni and delivered through an intermediary to Mike Mullen.

    Mansoor Ijaz is an American of Pakistani origin. To dig out what is right and what is wrong, the government should ask Mansoor Ijaz to come down to Pakistan and record their statements in front of a Judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan, so that truth can be extracted from the statements of Hussain Haqqani and Mansoor Ijaz.

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  • Tahir
    Nov 19, 2011 - 7:28AM

    I’ve heard that 100s of times, Far rightwingers say everything is a CIA/RAW conspiracy, psedo-liberals will call this an ISI conspiracy.

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  • Not me
    Nov 19, 2011 - 8:04AM

    This memo was a conspiracy against state of Pakistan. Those responsible should be tried for High Treason.And it should be open trial on TV

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  • smile
    Nov 19, 2011 - 8:34AM

    AZ have the guts to own and quit before you are thrown out .

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  • Tariq
    Nov 19, 2011 - 9:36AM

    there is no proof whatsoever that Ijaz has offered that is admissible in any court where he can prove that someone other than Ijaz himself made this up.

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Nov 19, 2011 - 10:22AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.Something is going towards absolutely wrongful directions which is trying to camouflage or hide or keep secret either from the army or from the nation.Because such this type of huge issue can never be raised without the informations of leadership because always the issues are raised only when you give any clue/hint.Without any clue/hint even the smallest issue can never be raised although second party includes some fabrications from itself in your given clue/hint.

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  • Loller
    Nov 19, 2011 - 11:25AM

    You guys are rambling on for needless reasons. Everyone knows that majority of Pakistanis will still give the vote to “BB” regardless of who is head of the party. Brace yourselves for another 5 years of this after which we will have no country to talk about. This can be changed but we ALL (including myself) need to try to educate the majority rural and show them that one meal on election day is not worth the suffering for 5 years after that.

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  • Jeddy
    Nov 19, 2011 - 12:08PM

    Zardari is trying to do what Sikandar Mirza did in 1958 – handing over power to the military instead of stepping down if he and his political are not elected.

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  • Mirza
    Nov 19, 2011 - 12:22PM

    Why is no inquiry conducted as yet regarding the army being in bed with OBL and his harem? How can a disputed piece of paper be so powerful against the nuclear Pakistan and it’s over half a million army? Why this disputed memo is treason and surrender in East Pakistan and Kargil was not? Why are all the famous terrorists found only in Pakistani sanctuaries? Where is the remorse and shame for keeping OBL for more than 5 years in an army base? Recommend

  • Nov 19, 2011 - 12:37PM

    Vienna,November 19,2011
    Mansoor Ijaz is a non Pakistani.Courier Courier Courier. Is that
    his business? A businessman works for profit.May be he deals
    with Harm me, h silent foundation to assert for the right to
    rule without civilian cover.The charm of the controversy is invested
    interest.Wash out the civilian government,save the sovereignty of
    Pakistan whatever it may mean. Geography has no sovereignty.
    Services have no sovereign rights constitutionally or otherwise.
    The people have sovereignty but they are under daily attack
    from the harm me, h silent.I am engaged on writing it.
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM India
    –Kulamarva Balakrishna

    Recommend

  • Shakil
    Nov 19, 2011 - 12:48PM

    I wonder whats wrong in the Memo which someone wanted to deliver to the US officials? If someone in the army shielded the OBL, he or they must be exposed. If the sensitive agencies harboring MO / AZ etc, they are doing it against the national interest and must be stopped. Similarly clipping the power of the ISI to stop meddling in the sovereign country is a prudent step which should have been done earlier by the rulers.

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  • R. Khan
    Nov 19, 2011 - 1:03PM

    Although no fan of AAZ & NS but feels that Hussain Haqqani is one intelligent guy & cannot do something like this! If he had to pass on the information, he would have done it on his own instead of using Mansoor Ejaz who has very bad reputation. HH should be given a fair chance to defend himself. I see our army trying to play games in order to get rid of elected government. Under no conditions, we will accept army taking over! Musharraf was the LAST dictator in the history of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Hairaan
    Nov 19, 2011 - 2:12PM

    @Loller:
    Very well said…

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  • Nov 19, 2011 - 2:22PM

    First time I agree with Zardari, I have complete faith in Haqqani.

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  • akhtar
    Nov 19, 2011 - 3:05PM

    Anybody can analyse mr ijaz statement it is obvious hebis telling lies and things are not done in political circle like he says.HE he is a CIA man

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  • Ishrat Salim
    Nov 19, 2011 - 4:42PM

    This is ” Memogate Scandal “…..time for this govt to go…..Mr Ijaz has already volunteered to submit all proofs in SC – if asked….but the govt of PPP will never allow this as ” the cat will be out of the bag “…..

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  • Maulana Diesel
    Nov 19, 2011 - 5:57PM

    Haqqani should remain the ambassador to the US. He is the only one with the contacts and the tact who can present Pakistan’s case in that highly charged Capital.

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  • Abdul Rahman Khan
    Nov 19, 2011 - 6:48PM

    Memo to mike mullen is not conspiracy against PPP. It is conspiracy of PPP government against pakistan. Pakistani politicians – so called – never improve, no matter how many times do they come into power. What is the definition of a pakistani politician? The answer: A corrupt, selfish, nepotist, incompetent, least patriotic and the one who couldn’t do any other job in the society and chooses to enter into politics. Thanks God, the army and agencies like ISI are there to check this creature against their misdeeds.Recommend

  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Nov 20, 2011 - 12:49AM

    It is time to support democracy not those who always march in after 2-4 years as Salvation Army, specially with a constitutional ascent by those who are still occupying high positions in our judiciary. I find Mr. Hussain Haqqani NOT GUILTY. Ultimately it will be a case, according to a saying in Punjabi “Khido Pholiyan Tay LeeraaN NikliyaN”.

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  • Abdul Rahman Khan
    Nov 20, 2011 - 2:59AM

    All indications and circumstantial evidence lead us to believe the memo was certainly dictated to Ejaz Mansoor by Husain Haqqani at the behest of Asif Zardari. Ejaz Mansoor is essentiallty a lobbyst and has considerable influience among the senior officials of U.S. Pentagon. He has been lobbying for Benazir and Nawaz Sharif, both when they were in power and out of it (in opposition). These lobbysts make their space in the US hierarchy during the election when they arrange meetings and dinner parties to collect donations for the contestants. This is a type of business in which the lobbysts invest for future gain.
    There are some reports in circulation that Ejaz Mandsoor was promised a million dollars for this task. He was, however, paid only one third of the agreed amount (about three hundred thousand) and the rest was not paid or pocketed in contravention of the terms of the deal – by whom? it’s anybody’s guess. Bitter on the incomplete payment, Ejaz Mansoor had to reveal this whole episode. Mike Mullen’s first denial of the memo was initial response but later, maybe, on checking he acknowledged the receipt saying that he didn’t take any follow-up action on the memo.
    In this whole episode, poor Ejaz Mansoor is unnecessarily made a target. He is a paid lobbyst and, naturally, would feel jittery if the other party is not honest in the deal. His being a ‘quadiani’ has got nothing to do with this. That’s a sick mentality to drag his religion in this matter.

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  • Ishrat Salim
    Nov 20, 2011 - 6:03PM

    I hv said it more than once earlier & will say again….the day these politicians especially the present govt refrain from being corrupt & bring change in goverance…..they will hv the moral ground to bring the Armed forces under them & public will go all out to support them…until then they will remain on defensive & cause more damage to the country with their childish acts.Recommend

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