The memo that opened the gates!

Published: November 29, 2011

The writer is a retired brigadier and a former president of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute

I cannot but agree with Ejaz Haider’s analysis in his article, “Memogate: not curtains yet”, carried by this daily on November 19. And, while the curtain has not fallen on the stage to signal the end of this drama; I doubt if it will reach its logical conclusion i.e. indicting the perpetrators.

But I want to focus on a slightly different angle since there was, after all, nothing really surprising about all this. The fact that our head of state is prepared to stake the country, its peoples and everything else that goes with it, in an effort to keep his office, is not a revelation! Under his benign leadership we may be suffering from greater corruption than ever before and the misery of the peoples might be greater. but in staking everything to retain his office, this president is no different from his predecessor; a serving general at that time, the venerable Musharraf!

The offer of ‘greater transparency’ of our nuclear programme for the US’s satisfaction is not a ‘first’! Rumours of such an offer being made by an earlier prime minister ran rife in the mid-1990s, until General Waheed Kakar, then COAS, during a visit to the US, orchestrated a press conference where this question was posed to him and he effectively scotched the rumour with his brief response, “no government of Pakistan could survive such a sell-out”! So Zardari is in sterling company and doing neither more nor less than should be expected of him.

What continues to intrigue me are questions relating to why this disclosure should occur. What prompted Mansoor Ijaz to write an op-ed in the Financial Times on October 10? Why, after initially denying it, should Admiral Mullen confirm its existence on November 17, why should the memo then be conveniently leaked to the blog maintained by Foreign Policy? And why, immediately following this, should Mansoor make public all his email correspondence, the numbers on his cell phone on which he received calls during the period the memo was being drafted?

Since it all started with Mansoor Ijaz, let’s concentrate on him. He is a very successful Pakistani-American businessman, well linked to the US administration, though of dubious credentials. Presumably, therefore, he is not looking for a career in journalism.

Consequently, if I was the ‘investigating officer’ assigned the responsibility of discovering why this leak occurred, Zardari would certainly figure in my list of suspects. But the question that would immediately follow is: would he be unaware of the risk of being personally implicated, were the entire contents of the memo disclosed? Certainly not; Zardari might not be intellectually gifted, but he has certainly proven himself to be politically astute and a wily manipulator.

Consequently, in light of developments from November 17 onwards, the name that would head my list of suspects would no longer be Zardari, but our venerable and dearly beloved Uncle; Uncle Sam!

From the day Uncle Sam discovered that, despite their soft-spoken, laid-back, easy-going exterior, the Pakistani generals, Kayani and Pasha, are no pushovers, there has been a deliberate campaign launched by the US administration to vilify and embarrass both. While the American media has faithfully done its bit, it is Uncle Sam who pushed it. If I was to try putting a date to the transformation of this duo from US ‘darlings’ to the object of hate, it would be March 2010, when Obama walked into a meeting of the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue to table his demands to Kayani and, to his surprise, Kayani responded by handing Obama a dossier with his analysis of ‘where, why, and how’ the US was erring in its Afghan policy; which would also explain why he (Kayani) was unable to fulfil US demands.

According to American media, in the meeting between Leon Panetta and General Pasha, following this event, there was “a slanging match between the two, in which the soft-spoken Pakistani general more than held his own”!

And while Admiral Mullen is a former general, both Mansoor and Haqqani are also Americans with neither a future nor any stakes in Pakistan; both more than willing to follow instructions from DC. What is more, Uncle Sam wouldn’t be at all concerned if Zardari was to get into hot soup as a by-product of this play. He is easily replaceable; others are already cuing up to take his place!

Love you; Uncle, many thanks!

Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • Nov 29, 2011 - 10:48PM

    Pakistani Safeer and American Citizen little strange thing but only in pakistan.Recommend

  • C. Nandkishore
    Nov 29, 2011 - 10:49PM

    Keep it up. Recommend

  • Nadir
    Nov 29, 2011 - 11:18PM

    First off, stop slandering Haqqani, hes not a US citizen. Second, how is it that accusations against civilians are always true and those against the Army are never true and always a conspiracy? Has it been proven that the memo was written by HH or ordered by Zardari to do so? You are quoting the same foreign evil media that today people are deriding as potraying a biased opinion of Pakistan!

    Kayani … Please, how many times now have the Americans infringed our sovereignty? What has he done? On his watch Pakistans sovereignty has blatantly been infringed twice and what he has done? Resign? Of-course not! Thats beneath him. Zardari is obviously replacable but apparently amongst the Army high command there is dearth of anyone who can do their job. While DG ISI was flying off to meet Mansoor Ijaz in a plush hotel in London, the same Mansoor Ijaz who called the ISI a terrorist organization, the country is facing war from terrorists on the one hand and external actors on the other, and all you can offer us is more Zardari bashing? Recommend

  • Mirza
    Nov 29, 2011 - 11:21PM

    Coming from a retired army officer this is not a bad analysis. One thing we all agree that Mansoor Ijaz is a questionable shady character. Why he wrote/delivered the memo and then disclosed it remain un-answered. That is the main point.
    Be that as it many this fiasco has weakened both civilian and militarry leadership. In my honest and humble opinion “Pakistan hs to play ball on the US terms” or they would make life impossible for Pakistan. I am not saying it is fair but after being caught in bed with OBL, Pakistan has proved that they are with the worst terrorists and anti Americans. This cannot be easily forgiven by the Americans. We can fool Pakistani public but the inevitable cannot be avoided.

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  • bangash
    Nov 29, 2011 - 11:23PM

    ya except Uncle Sam ignored the memo and didn’t care if Haqqani left.

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  • Jalib
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:02AM

    @ Ali Tanoli & Nadir el edroos
    It doesn’t matter if Haqqani held dual citizenship (yes the US allows dual Pakistani and American citizenship). Countless other Ambassadors to the US have held dual citizenships. Case in point the highly effective Israeli Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren. In fact I won’t even be surprised if former Ambassador Gen. Jehangir Karamat is a dual citizen (or at least a Permanent Resident), having lived in the US for so long.

    And @ Nadir, it seems highly inconceivable that Haqqani was an Associate Professor at BU w/o at least a Permanent Residence-ship, so please can your pseudo analysis with its venom-spewing content.

    What matters however is how strongly an Ambassador defends his countrymen and understands them w/o personal agenda or malice. And that’s where inside sources will reveal critically failed. Recommend

  • Mirza
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:05AM

    @Nadir:
    I agree with you 100%. The irony is there is a hatred against Pakistanis living in the West. However, when it comes to their money they are always welcomed! During the last year’s floods how much money was donated by these hated people? Having a work visa in Dubai SA or even in Canada is fine but not in the US. The Pakistani govt gives them national ID cards and preferences in many things for their services to the country but for some they are not Pakistanis. HH is not a US citizen, he has been a legal permanent resident to do his teaching job. Pakistani Americans do not give up their Pakistani citizenship in order to get the US. The reason Israel is successful is due to the dual citizenship with America. Pakistanis do have this option of dual citizenship with the US and some use it. What is the biggest source of foreign exchange for Pakistan? Why would some want to jeoperdise that?
    Thanks and regards,
    Mirza

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  • Aliyah
    Nov 30, 2011 - 1:45AM

    @Nadir: Nadir doth protest too much!
    Excellent analysis Mr Qadir.

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  • Pro Bono Publico
    Nov 30, 2011 - 2:32AM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    And only in Pakistan, a President with properties in UK, USA, France, Dubai, etc., plus overseas bank accounts …

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  • Nadir
    Nov 30, 2011 - 3:37AM

    @Jalib: And that’s where inside sources will reveal critically failed” Will reveal? If they havnt then why the presumption that he is already guilty? How do you know that he hasnt looked after Pakistans interests? Just because the media says so? Or Op Ed writers. Why is he already guilty just because hes associated with Zardari?

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  • Abbas from the US
    Nov 30, 2011 - 3:50AM

    @Pro Bono Publico:

    If Pakistani politicians and their husbands are periodically hounded into exile by every General ascending to become Chief Executive thru a coup carried out by virtue of being Chief of Staff, what are the chances that they will not resort to keeping standby homes for the possiblity of political exile in Europe and Dubai.

    By the way the Saudi Royal Family and the lesser Gulf kingdoms, Karzai’s brother, Ghaddafi’s family, Hosni Mubarak’s Sons, all owned or possess family homes outside their countries of citizenship.

    How is General Musharraf resident in Britain? His son holds US citizenship.

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  • ali
    Nov 30, 2011 - 5:55AM

    For those who dont know, Ali Tanoli is a US citizen. He fights for our qaumi ghairat while sitting in US. Isnt it great?

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  • N
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:34AM

    Well argued on behalf of the Army.
    You claim corruption reaching new heights under ZARDARI. What do you say when a known institution:
    – usurps all power over domestic and foreign policy
    – appropriates perks and privileges without any regard for laws and common sense.
    – disposes and hangs elected civilians without due process
    – declares wars wily nily and loses all of them
    – trains and exports terror to its neighbours
    – rents the nation’s land to foreign powers
    – conducts one of the largest genocides on its own people!

    Do you think this institution is corrupt?

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  • observer
    Nov 30, 2011 - 5:14PM

    @Shaukat Qadir

    Under his benign leadership we may be suffering from greater corruption than ever before

    Would that be including the NLC scam or excluding it. Do remind me, who is holding the protective umbrella for the scamsters?

    the Pakistani generals, Kayani and Pasha, are no pushovers, there has been a deliberate campaign launched by the US administration to vilify and embarrass both.

    And as apart of this campaign, first the US prompted the General to make tall claims about ‘breaking the back of terrorism in Pakistan’ on the campus of Kakul Academy, and then planted OBL in its environs, purely to ‘villify and embarrass both’. How cunning indeed.

    Mansoor and Haqqani are also Americans with neither a future nor any stakes in Pakistan; both more than willing to follow instructions from DC.

    And whose tunes was Gen Pasha dancing to, when he flew to London to look at the Blackberry phone of an American citizen with no stakes in Pakistan? And, (Gasp, Gasp) is the American hand orchestrating both?

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  • Nov 30, 2011 - 5:50PM

    “From the day Uncle Sam discovered that, despite their soft-spoken, laid-back, easy-going exterior, the Pakistani generals, Kayani and Pasha, are no pushovers, there has been a deliberate campaign launched by the US administration to vilify and embarrass both. “

    I doubt that any U.S. administration possesses the mechanisms to do such things. Aren’t military folks supposed to pay attention to capability?

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  • Naheed
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:05PM

    There is sheer criticism on Hussain Haqqani even though his guilt is not proved yet. He has surrendered his black berry and Laptop as well for investigation but what about Mansoor Ijaz and his designs? He cannot be alone. Media should expose all Mir Jafars and Mir Sadiqs of this country who clearly showed disloyalty to their people and their country. Such people are bent on damaging Pakistan through their evil designs.
    If Haqqan is guilty then Mansoor Ijaz is also to be blamed as he acted as carrier to that memo, and thought nothing of asking a foreign country’s help against their own armed forces. But nothing is going to happen, as all they wanted is the firing of Haqqani and they have got it. They might still be hoping that a coup will be born of this scandal, but I am sure that the people of Pakistan still haven’t forgotten the last dictatorship.

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  • Suleman
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:07PM

    In 1996 or 1997 Mansur Ijaz wrote an Op Ed in the WSJ against Benazir Bhutto Shaheed. Her government fell two months later. At that time I felt M Ijaz was a bit of a creep and a great self-promoter. His latest gig only reinforced my dislike for him. He should concentrate on making money and stop meddling in the affairs of states. Hussain Haqqani is neither a traitor nor has committed treason, and he strongly defied that he has drafted any such memo. On the other hand, no one knows who is Mansoor Ijaz? What are his motives? What is his credibility? He is the man of Islamabad or Washington? I am sorry but I must say that we are damn fool that we believe in a person who is American and do not ready to hear what our own ambassador saying. Pakistanis are no so naïve now they knew who is behind all this drama.

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  • Abbas from the US
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:19PM

    @Suleman:

    This is also part of Mansoor Ijaz;s entrepreneual skills. There is money to be made if you can become kingmaker.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Dec 1, 2011 - 9:07PM

    @ali ji,
    Yes i am U.S citizen and the reason is also those crrupt dictators and libral secular democratic leaders are and i am fighting for change which i hope bring change and many like
    me can comeback to promissed land and second thing we are foriegn citizen for economic reason not for luxury with loot money understand.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Dec 1, 2011 - 11:41PM

    @ALI
    Atleast we are not Mansoor ijaz or any mir jaffers…..

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  • Dec 2, 2011 - 6:38PM

    Beautifully written and totally agree with you. Your facts make a lot of sense to me and are fully appreciated. The US and its underlings can stoop so low that the dust below the underlay will cover their heads. Salams to you Brigadier Sahib

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  • Dec 4, 2011 - 7:19PM

    @Pro Bono Publico:
    I dont understand all this fus, when this nation with the help of our sixth collum media potrayed these dispicable lot as engels coming direct from heaven, so why all this cry.

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  • Hussain
    Dec 14, 2011 - 2:19PM

    Its always been sadening when I read to papers or watch electronic media. All what I feel is shamefull of what we are doing to our own beloved country and us. Can I request you all analysts to please stop speculating on matters of national interest. Either its “memogate” or OBL elimination, we as nation believe in one thing and that is we should always speak of Pakistan and Pakistan and Pakistan. If we stop speculating things we don’t know, problem will be resolved. Let’s wait for the time reveal the truth and do not comment on what we don’t know, pleaseeeeeeeee……
    A Pakistani

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