I reached the parliament house at around 5:45 pm Tuesday. The route I normally take to arrive was dotted with security detail that clearly indicated the presence of Chief of Army Staff, either at the presidency or the prime minister’s office. The appearances confused me; because, around 40 minutes ago tickers at various 24/7 channels had been claiming that the much awaited de-briefing of Hussain Haqqani that both the president and the prime minister were to watch in presence of the chief of army staff was over for the day.
Some tickers also claimed that very ‘tough’ questions were put to Haqqani. Without clearly telling who originally drafted these questions, the tickers also reported that our Alpha General himself vetted final version of the questionnaire, presumably prepared for Haqqani.
At around 6:35 pm, I specially sneaked out of the parliament house and the security detail was still there. No credible source could take the phone to clear my mind. Some low level minions did tell that a high level defence and security-connected delegation had come from the UK. It called on the prime minister. Our generals must also have joined the meeting. Perhaps after the said meeting the PM and the rest went to the presidency.
Farahnaz Ispahani was again present in the house. She also spoke on a point of order and her body language conveyed OK kind of vibes. Notwithstanding her confidence-communicating vibes, most ruling party legislators were also found sharing jokes and engaged in carefree
banters. After talking to some in the lobby, I gathered the feeling that they strongly believe that the fuss over ‘memogate’ is now abating. Things were fast turning to their normal rhythm.
Instead of discussing the fate of Haqqani and its consequences for President Zardari many were rather found sadistically enjoying “what has happened to our legal eagle (Dr Babar Awan) in the Supreme Court this morning.” When probed, they gleefully reported the grilling remarks from the bench.
A practicing lawyer amongst them was doubly happy over another development. He seriously believed that Awan loved to appear in defence of the government, “not with the intent to win the case on merit. What really tempt him are the DSNGs placed outside the court, when high-profile cases are being heard by the apex court. After appearing in the court, he walks to cameras with designer’s shades to spin potent sound bites.”
Staying true to his habit, Babar Awan had passed certain remarks Monday that annoyed the bench. He has now been formally asked by the bench to keep quiet, when reporters ask him to comment on proceedings in the court. The same person also mentioned a staggering-sounding amount that he claimed Awan would charge for speaking for the government in NRO-review petition. I am not quoting the amount for not getting the confirmation of it from a source one could trust.
While savouring the sadistic pleasure over the presumed “humiliation of Awan in the Supreme Court,” another well-informed PPP MNA suggested to me in intriguing whispers that journalists should start watching Ms Sherry Rehman, “when pondering over the void that the Haqqani-issue may create in the end.”
Despite my anxious probing, he refused to say more on the subject, but while parting informed me that the article that appeared with the byline of President Zardari, a day after the killing of Osama on May 2, was written by Haqqani. It surely was not news for me. But he went on to explain that both Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan ruthlessly exploited the tone and tenor of that article to lynch the government. President Zardari felt very upset with that and as if to manage the damage, asked Ms Rehman to draft another article that protested to Americans for blaming Pakistan for many bad things under the sun. Sherry’s promotion by this MNA did not motivate me to imagine her as our ambassador in Washington. Something else is definitely in the offing. I have some inkling of it. Yet, one must keep quiet unless doubly confirmed. Being a former journalist, Sherry Rehman is a dear friend after all and I do not want to spoil the chances of her bouncing back on the power scene with a bang.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2011.