The judicial commission set up to investigate the so-called ‘memogate’ scandal has tried to put two and two together and has come up with a number that is most definitely not four. Its final report declares that there is incontrovertible proof that former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani was the originator and composer of the memo that was sent to the Americans by businessman Mansoor Ijaz. For all we know, that proof may well be present, although the commission is yet to share it and those who attended hearings of the commission had come away with a distinctly different impression of the proceedings. Certainly, Haqqani played a murky role in the composition of the memo that is yet to be fully explained but to declare him responsible requires a stretch of the imagination that certainly doesn’t rise to the level of being found guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
Some would also say that the commission’s commentary on Haqqani’s loyalties was unnecessary. It declared that the former ambassador was always trying to keep the Americans happy. Maybe the commission should keep in mind that staying on the good side of the US is an integral part of an ambassador’s job description. Haqqani has often suffered through the accusation of being an American at heart but it is a battle he has won, first through his job as ambassador and then by proving that he did not hold US citizenship.
The commission, in declaring that Haqqani worked against the interests of Pakistan by writing the memo, may want to take a closer look at its contents. It is difficult to raise objections against his desire to have the military brought under the control of civilians, as our Constitution demands. Asking the Americans to bring this change about is questionable, but the sentiment cannot be deemed entirely objectionable. Yet, it is in the nature of those opposed to civilian rule to change the subject from their misdeeds. In this case, the distraction was memogate and the scapegoat was Husain Haqqani.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2012.