Memogate scandal: Govt blames army for keeping PM ‘in the dark’

Published: December 26, 2011

Federation says DG ISI stepped beyond his jurisdiction by briefing Kayani during a meeting with Mansoor Ijaz. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

ISLAMABAD: The battle lines appear to have been drawn. The embittered government is in no mood to go down without a fight. On Monday it hit back at the military in the Memogate scandal, squarely blaming the army and intelligence chiefs for “keeping Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in the dark” on the issue.

In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, the government dismissed as a ‘pack of lies’ the statement made by Mansoor Ijaz, the American businessman of Pakistani origin who has been at the heart of the memo row, and endorsed the reply submitted by former Pakistani ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani.

Haqqani had rubbished Ijaz’s claim and denied having any link with the memo.

In their statements, army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI Director General Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha had confirmed the ‘existence’ of the secret memo which the army chief said was an attempt to demoralise the armed forces and therefore needs to be investigated.

On December 19, a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court had asked the government to file an affidavit – accepting or denying the statements of Gen Kayani, Lt Gen Pasha, Ijaz and Haqqani.

In the affidavit, submitted to the apex court through the interior ministry, Interior Secretary Khwaja Siddique Akbar stated that Gen Kayani has confirmed learning of the memo issue from Lt Gen Pasha in a meeting on October 24, 2011.

“No reason has been mentioned anywhere as to why it took so long to report to the prime minister in a case where according to the respondent [the army chief] himself, time was of the essence,” the affidavit read.

Referring to the meeting between Lt Gen Pasha and Ijaz, the affidavit stated that the former shirked his duty by briefing Gen Kayani instead of the country’s chief executive on the matter. “However, respondent [Pasha] is fully aware as to whom he is liable to report under relevant law and rules,” it read.

To the army chief’s statement, the government said Pakistan is lucky to have the eighth largest army of the world, comprising valiant men and women. “Therefore, no one can weaken the morale of Pakistan’s armed forces and certainly not the alleged memo which is not worth even the paper on which it was printed while being downloaded,” the affidavit read.

The government also said the sacrifices of Pakistan’s armed forces for the country’s security, territorial integrity and sovereignty are unprecedented.

“Similarly, the people of Pakistan and their democratically elected representatives took the brunt of every aggression equally on their chests, and children, women, students and common citizens, including Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, laid down their lives to defend their homeland fearlessly,” it added.

In response to the army chief’s plea for an inquiry into the Memogate controversy, the government said, “All the facts and circumstances are being probed into by the parliamentary committee on national security. The committee has representation from all political parties of the country, and as mandated by both the houses of parliament is examining the facts and circumstances of the matter.”

Referring to Mansoor Ijaz’s write-up in The Financial Times, the affidavit said that the government as well as the presidency have already issued denial of the contents of the article published on October 10, 2011.

“It is the stance of the federation that the federal government [including the constitutional head of the state, the constitutional chief executive of the country or any other component of the federal government] has neither conceptualised nor initiated or in any manner has anything to do with the alleged memo or the allegation or views expressed therein,” it said.

The Supreme Court is set to take up the statements of all the parties, including the government’s rebuttal submitted through the interior ministry, on Tuesday. The court is seized of the maintainability of the petitions in the memo case.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2011.

Reader Comments (50)

  • kilo
    Dec 26, 2011 - 4:09PM

    For once our govt is correct..generals should be investigated for hiding or playing with the information for that long and be discharged for insubordination without even giving it a second thought

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  • rsk
    Dec 26, 2011 - 4:57PM

    I dont understand why SC should consitute such a large bench for such a issue. It would have been better a smaller bench first hear and give its verdict.

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  • Roflcopter
    Dec 26, 2011 - 4:59PM

    Govt is desperate and they should know they’re only shooting themselves in the foot as the nation stands behind Kayani and Pasha.

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  • MUNIB
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:13PM

    Very correct stance by GOV though i do think they are guilty in writing the memo and this gov is corrupt. Law is law and the law says the DG ISI is suppose to report to the PM and take his permission and report him for all issue related to NATIONAL SECURITY.

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  • Overseas Pakistani
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:35PM

    Nothing is more important than Pakistan’s Security. Democracy, Sovereignty and rule of law is after Pakistan. If Generals overstepping in order to protect Pakistan Security then they are doing good job. Thumbs up for them.

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  • Salahuddin
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:39PM

    Logical and legally valid stance.

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  • Faizan
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:44PM

    @Overseas Pakistani
    I second you on that.

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  • Johnny Bravo
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:45PM

    Doesn’t the DG ISI report to the COAS?

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  • MUNIB
    Dec 26, 2011 - 6:14PM

    saying that “If Generals overstepping in order to protect Pakistan Security then they are doing good job ”
    is like saying “Its good if jump into the river to keep myself dry” Does this makes sense?

    I think my bro overseas pakistani doesnt know that the Constitution gives the Parliament the right to decide what is to be DONE TO PROTECT PAKISTAN.

    How would you respond to the idea that a Politicians should be made the COAS of Army for betterment of Army ?

    Dont hide your nose under the guise of “protecting the state” . PAK Army is NOT the owner of state that it can do anything to protect it. The parliament is the Owner through the power of vote and elections.

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  • A J Khan
    Dec 26, 2011 - 6:32PM

    Prime Minister is his reporting head but it does not mean that he will not be sharing information of importance with the services chiefs. If that be the case, then the Prime Minister should be briefing the service chiefs. Any way, will that change the facts of the case.

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  • alicia
    Dec 26, 2011 - 6:33PM

    @overseas Pakistani
    Unfortunately whenever army tries to overstep its legitimate role to protect us we lose Pakistan instead of saving it e.g. Bangladesh, Siachin, 3 of our rivers,Kargil and Kashmir
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  • Amjad Cheema
    Dec 26, 2011 - 6:39PM

    Bravo Fed govt.

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  • sheXi
    Dec 26, 2011 - 6:53PM

    i cant help but laugh on these hilarious comments…… its an open secret how much the govt is concerned abt protecting national security…….. The deatils of all the SECRET IN-CAMERA sessions of Parliament were leaked to media by MNAs using their mobile phones… how can u expect such people to take care of national sovereignity……. the memo should be thoroughly investigated Recommend

  • Kashif
    Dec 26, 2011 - 6:53PM

    Before we condemn Gen Pasha should we not also remember that the memo was against the Army and ISI in the first place? Should the ISI chief not have reported it to the Army Chief so as to investigate the matter fully before taking the matter up with the PM?

    Doesn’t Ambassador Haqqani come under the PM normally?

    Before we say what the Army cannot do under the Constitution, should we not insist that all other state organs also follow it? After all, they wrote the Constitution and/or amended it.Recommend

  • Overseas Pakistani
    Dec 26, 2011 - 7:24PM

    @MUNIB
    For your first para, your understanding is wrong. For second para, if bogus votes Parliament decide that from next day Pakistan will be the part of India or a colony of America then what would be your answer.
    And for your last para, Ms. CONDA RICE‘s recent book is enough to refer that how parliament formed, however, fake degrees and bogus votes can also be referred if you still puzzle.
    And the last thing I would like to add that I would really respect the parliament if more than 50% genuine voting turnout recorded in election, after all more than 50% is democracy!

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  • saleem ullah
    Dec 26, 2011 - 7:27PM

    Memogate issue be resolved in the Court with lesser and the minimal effects / damage to the political system.We should be focusing the other issues now ; which need immediate attention like Energy crisis and the War in Afghanistan.Recommend

  • Imran
    Dec 26, 2011 - 7:46PM

    Well maybe there is a lack of trust between the ISI and the army? Part of the memogate was against the army n the ISI therefore i dont blame Pasha for discussing this with army. Say if Pasha did report to the govt then what difference does this make? It doesnt make the memogate fiasco go away it still needs investigating. Pasha went to the chief justice because for once in pakistan the judiciary is independant only he can clearly investigate this without bias. This was a national security issue. The sovergnity of the nation is under threat. Gillani critcised the army regarding bin laden on national media. Do u think this was a responsible statement. Statements like these make me believe the memogate issue is authentic. We r playing in the hands of america.

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  • realize
    Dec 26, 2011 - 7:49PM

    Time to hold the NRO zada generals accountable too. If politicians are to be blamed for NRO, even though they were not in power when the ordinance was issued, the state personnels assisting the deals for personal gains, should also be criticized for their part. Their heads must roll too.

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  • Waqas Butt
    Dec 26, 2011 - 8:02PM

    Is there someone in the world who could tell me why the government is running away from the Supreme Court Investigation if they are so innocent. If there hands are clean let the facts surface and they will be cleared eventually. But recent happenings reflect that the government is guilty and they are trying to run away from the fact that they have posed a grave threat to the security of Pakistan. We stand by our DG ISI and COAS. They claim that this issue must be investigated as it is related to our national security. This is very genuine demand from every Pakistani.

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  • ARSAL
    Dec 26, 2011 - 8:29PM

    What a funny stance;; when PM is himself the accused in memo issue;wot fun in reporting the investigation in the issue to him by DG ISI;;It was very right by DG ISI to report to army chief (the institutional head of army) since the conspiracy was against army and indirectly a threat to geoghraphical boundries of Pakistan;;The law being reffered for reporting the matter to PM doesnt mean an accused PM or president.

    May be generals over stepped in past but in post judiciary crisis none did;;If Government’s this allibi is good enough than i can put up a more funny line by saying that the memo should have been discussed in national assembly before being despatched because the so called democracy demands this;

    The best because of unique nature of the memo would be a probe by Supreme court to find out the author rather than confusing the issue for the sake of non issue like procedural reporting or non reporting.Recommend

  • ARSAL
    Dec 26, 2011 - 8:34PM

    A little more to add that not only generals but political leadership incl Nawaz sharif ,Imran Khan and jamat e islami are also demanding a probe by SC; the only party confusing the issue is government; so better they should review their stance.

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  • Mike
    Dec 26, 2011 - 8:47PM

    @Imran:

    “We r playing in the hands of America. “

    Nonsense.

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  • Pakistani
    Dec 26, 2011 - 8:47PM

    I wana ask just one question to “Federal Government”
    Didn’t you took leaps and leaps beyond every jurisdiction every limit ?
    look before you leap you have destroyed Pakistan economically , look where Pakistan is standing in international corruption ranking Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Dec 26, 2011 - 8:49PM

    Here are limits of our Federal government “Pakistan is one of top most corrupt country”

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  • bangash
    Dec 26, 2011 - 8:52PM

    Why is an unsigned and unverified piece of paper taking up so much of the SC time ?

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  • John
    Dec 26, 2011 - 9:03PM

    @A J Khan:
    nonsnse…constitutional definition of democracy, once elected, the PM is the sole authoruty, sole keeper and sole arbritrer of a nation’s fate till he is removed in a constitutional manner..

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  • MarkH
    Dec 26, 2011 - 9:36PM

    @Waqas Butt:
    Because it’s about everyone playing their role. They’re not going along with anyone overstepping by doing it in a way that isn’t overstepping.

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  • Allah Rakha
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:24PM

    Supreme Court to Govt.: Accept or deny the memo.
    Govt. : DG ISI overstepped his jurisdiction.

    Is govt. really answering the question/issue @ hand ?

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  • Tahir
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:32PM

    Before trying to target one of the, if not the most respected institution in Pakistan, the govt should first look inwards and carry out some soul searching to assess what have they done for the ordinary people of Pakistan so far! I consider this soul searching will greatly disappoint them, provided they are left with some conscience! Recommend

  • Tahir
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:37PM

    @kilo:
    That be the case, please offer your advice to Obama as well! Do we know how much the US Generals been hiding from the Executive? The affairs of the State are not run like this Mr Kilo that you discharge people like this. The Govt must prove itself worthy of the responsibility and trust posed in them by the people of Pakistan. Then, there will not be any need of discharging people or fears of govt being toppled by any power within or outside the country. In that case, people shall stand by their beloved give like “seesa pillai deewar”!

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  • Tahir
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:48PM

    @MUNIB:
    Well than continue practicing licking and eating this parliament as very shortly u may have food crisis in the country to top-up prevailing gas, electricity, bal blah crisis!

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  • Adil Q
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:49PM

    What a stupid argument by government! Govt. is accused of sending this memo. Prime Minister and President are a part of this conspiracy against Army/Country which by the way is high treason if proven right. Many fellows here are arguing for how ISI chief should have gone to Gilani first and briefed him. Why on earth would one go and brief a person who himself authorized it or was part of the team which is suspected of hatching this plan? On top of everything else, why is government so scared of the findings of this inquiry? After being accused of something this big, you don’t argue on things like Pasha was supposed to report to Prime Minister or whether Supreme Court has jurisdiction over this matter or not instead you co-operate with the honourable court to get your name cleared. Recommend

  • Tahir
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:53PM

    @alicia:
    Put ur facts straight, how can you implicate Armed Forces in Siachin and rivers issues, if for a while we put aside the remaining to referred cases? Can you please elaborate and provide evidence in support of your broad assertion!

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  • nsk
    Dec 26, 2011 - 11:44PM

    @Adil Q:
    Dear you have to understand one thing. Memo and its contents are facts. In the past also many ruling elite have asked assistance from US against he clutches of Army as apparantly there is no other way to get rid off. Same has been done by current government. Main point is to address the issues raised in the memo and not memo itself. In that case government is right in its instacne and army seems to have tresppased its limits.

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  • Sajjad Ashraf
    Dec 26, 2011 - 11:58PM

    Most of the comments I read are confusing the issue. It is not about the generals or civialins. It is about our national interests. It is about loyalty to the country. You can dffer with the perceptions of the army but cannot doubt thier loyalty. Recommend

  • Imran
    Dec 27, 2011 - 12:10AM

    @Sajjad Ashraf:
    National security is not to be imposed by a man in uniform, but defined by the people of a country through their representatives in the Parliament.

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  • Imran
    Dec 27, 2011 - 12:13AM

    We have already seen a lot of bloodshed in Bangal, Balochistan, and Baltistan, in the name of national security. No more exploitation of Pakistan under the pretext of NS.

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  • Mohsin
    Dec 27, 2011 - 12:15AM

    @Sajjad Ashraf – Absolutely!! It is about the loyalty towards the country and everything else should be irrelevant at such a critical juncture. The Army and ISI have the best intentions and they hold national interest as supreme and they should be applauded!

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  • MUNIB
    Dec 27, 2011 - 12:26AM

    @Overseas PAK
    Bro your “if” and “but” assumptions wont win you the argument. If its about assumptions than even with the bogus vote the parliament has the right to decide GOOD or BAD. Otherwise with the same assumtion one can assume that WHAT IF a COAS make PAK part of INDIA?

    So kindly argue on what you can defend. The topic was what HAS HAPPENED and NOT WHAT WILL happen etc.

    Because you seem to have not read history, it was a COAS who said to the Americans in 1953 that the USA should treat PAK Army as its own Army and that If USA is there as friend PAK doesnt even need its own Army

    Now you want me to tell you the name of that “patriotic” Army Chief or you will do some searching ?

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  • Anjum Kiani
    Dec 27, 2011 - 1:44AM

    Why would you pre-warn or alert the possible culprit. Pasha & Kiyani acted in the interest of the nation and justice too. Please refer to whistleblowing policy in the wetern nation that will back up what Pasha Did!

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  • Raj - USA
    Dec 27, 2011 - 2:52AM

    If the government is held guilty, he along with Gilani and Haqqani shall be executed for treason. The SC shall side with the Army as they would not like to spend the rest of their life in Saudi. Nor do they have so much money stacked abroad as NS to lead a comfortable life there with their families. Along with Zardari, Gilani and Haqqani other retired General implicated in the memo may also face treason charges. Another Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto scenario is not at all desirable and may lead to serious internal turmoil.It would be better for Pakistan if everyone forgets the issue and move on for more pressing matters. Imran Khan may play a mediator role and diffuse the tense situation.

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  • Adil Q
    Dec 27, 2011 - 3:37AM

    @nsk:

    What you are saying does not make any sense to me. In the past many generals have toppled the governments too, would that make it right for Kayani to do so? NO! So in past if other governments asked US assistance against Army (even though I don’t believe it), that is irrelevant. If General Kayani wanted to topple the government, he would have done so by now. If these corrupt politicians feared anything like that, they should have gone to public to ask for their support not America. But unfortunately, public already hates them too much so they sought America’s help. Get the difference? There you go, I addressed the issues raised in the memo for you.

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  • Khan
    Dec 27, 2011 - 4:11AM

    @ Munib

    Emotional….wont do you any good

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  • narayana murthy
    Dec 27, 2011 - 8:09AM

    @Overseas Pakistanis, who says “Nothing is more important than Pakistan’s Security. Democracy, Sovereignty and rule of law is after Pakistan.”

    So, what is Pakistan according to you? A name? A map? A piece of land? A group of people? A concept?

    If you don’t have democracy, if you don’t have rule of law, how is that not a security threat to Pakistan? How does that not come under Pakistan’s security?

    And for god’s sake, you have also put sovereignty after Pakistan’s security. What does that mean?

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  • MUNIB
    Dec 27, 2011 - 10:13AM

    @Khan
    Thanks for concern. RIGHT or WRONG is the question here.
    When boots rule a country, the country goes to boots.

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Dec 27, 2011 - 10:55AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.Once again government’s camouflaging its demerits and weaknesses strategy by blaming Pakistan army by giving this irresponsible statement against the army officials.

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  • azhar
    Dec 27, 2011 - 12:38PM

    @Johnny Bravo: Even if DG ISI report to COAS, then the COAS should have reported to PM under the constitution.

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  • Khalid
    Dec 27, 2011 - 1:48PM

    Pasha found memo credible; now he would be fool to go and report it to same government who allegedly initiated the memo. If memo is actually proved to be correct then it is a treason and government is in no position to investigate this this matter on its own, supreme court needs to be involved and that is what currently happening..

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  • Khalid Rahim
    Dec 27, 2011 - 5:12PM

    Pak Express Tribune is a protege of NY TImes. Which would do anything to blame the Army and allied Institutions.

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  • Harry Stone
    Jan 1, 2012 - 12:28AM

    @narayana murthy:

    I believe you has asked the most thought provoking question/comment to date on this issue.

    There was a recent article asking what does PAK want in Afghanistan. My comment was what does PAK want in PAK. It would seem no one knows because no seems able to define just what PAK is.

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