Did Abdul Qadir Gilani call Mubashar Lucman of his own accord or was he returning Lucman’s call during Lucman’s and Meher Bokhari’s disgraceful interview of Malik Riaz, or was Gilani returning Lucman’s call made to him a minute or so earlier? Well, a friend who I respect tells me that Gilani received a missed call (or sms) from Lucman to which he responded by calling Lucman back. Indeed, if you watch this clip carefully, you will see Lucman fiddling with his BlackBerry seconds before the start of the programme, and receiving a call after the barely one-minute intro.
This call had to do with the recent feud between Hamid Mir and Lucman, who can clearly be heard asking Gilani to ask Riaz to let him (Lucman) name Mir on the programme. Riaz says no and the show proceeds. But the fact that the then prime minister’s son speaks to Lucman while he is conducting a highly controversial interview rankles with a lot of people including I.
Indeed, the interview is so controversial that it prompted the Chief Justice to summon a hapless and quivering chairman Pemra before a meeting of the Full Court where he was questioned by the CJ himself, the proceedings quite needlessly shown live on TV channels. News reports suggest that the man suffered a heart attack not soon after his questioning. Little wonder, for the Full Court, bless its heart, must surely present an awesome sight!
In light of the notoriety of the interview, and its fallout, is it not possible for the Supreme Court to summon Mubashar Lucman and Abdul Qadir Gilani along with their mobile devices and have forensic analysis done there and then (and why not before the Full Court; and why not televised too?) as to the veracity of the version that it was Lucman and not Gilani who initiated that call? Our Supreme Court can do anything it pleases as we have seen: this should be easy pickings.
And now, as promised, to ‘Mamo’-gate, which is how Pakistan’s most raucous and trend-setting channel refers to Memogate. Let us, for the sake of argument, overlook the fact that the very same people who accused Husain Haqqani of being an American agent; of being America’s ambassador to Pakistan etcetera, accused him of using a shady character to first write and then pass on a memo to the Americans. Let us ignore the fact that being their agent it should have been the easiest matter for Haqqani to whisper into American ears what was written in the Memo — no written Memo; no BBM ‘trail’; no nothing.
But how can we ignore the suggestion in the Memo which so upset the commanders of the Deep State, that the Zardari/Haqqani combine wanted to replace the current ‘ghairatmand’ and patriotic high command with generals who would be more ‘pliable’ so to say, and who would willingly put Pakistan’s nuclear assets aka ‘bums’ under the oversight of the Americans and their stooges, and other such ‘beyghairat’ stuff.
How can we ignore the fact that there might exist in the senior ranks of the Pakistan Army a bunch of ‘beyghairat’ and unpatriotic generals who would be amenable to accepting US hegemony over Pakistan’s security, ordered by Haqqani & Co.? Tripe and nonsense! As I have oft-written, generals of our army are the exact same; from the same mould; peas in a pod. Nothing could be further from the truth than the canard that there are such elements in our army.
Which reminds me: how could this silly Memo make Kayani and Pasha, the two main players in ‘unmasking’ this great conspiracy leave their posts? Zardari would have dismissed them because of US pressure on the two generals? Tripe and nonsense. Zardari is no fool and knows the rules of the game.
There’s more: Josh Rogin, writing in The Cable, the blog of the Foreign Policy (FP) magazine of November 17, 2011 wrote about an interview he had with Haqqani’s main accuser, one-time women wrestling commentator and most controversial ‘deal-maker’ who has been rubbished in the press, Mansoor Ijaz. “Once the memo was final, Ijaz said he approached three US interlocutors … all three of them expressed scepticism about the offers that were being made. “Frankly, when you read it, you will see that these offers are sort of a sellout of Pakistan to the United States.”
Rogin says further: “Ijaz said he respects Haqqani, believes his motives are patriotic, and sees him as a needed presence in the troubled US-Pakistan relationship.
“Haqqani has had a reputation since he became ambassador as being more of America’s ambassador to Pakistan than Pakistan’s Ambassador to America, but that’s an unfair charge,” Ijaz said. “He is someone who is trying to help people there understand who we are and help people here understand what kind of a mess [Pakistan] is.”
“In that sense, he’s done a very credible job and it would be a loss for Pakistan to see him go,” Ijaz said. “I still consider him a friend.” (Well, with friends like you, buddy!!).
Let us now ask this question of the Commission: if they could take Ijaz’s word that Haqqani is the author of the Memo as the gospel truth and is therefore, in the uncalled-for words of the Commission, “not loyal” to Pakistan, why can’t they also take the great man suggesting that Haqqani is a patriot who did a great job for his country while he was ambassador in Washington DC as the truth too?
In ending, I quote from an editorial in Dawn of March 20, 2012: “After all, the performance that Mansoor Ijaz has put in as the star witness has been so bizarre and underwhelming that the possibility that Mr Haqqani is in serious legal jeopardy has almost evaporated. Mr Ijaz’s penchant for making an outrageous allegation one day and then quietly suggesting he isn’t sure of its veracity the next has shredded his credibility to the point of nothingness.”
Another question: Does the Commission really feel that Haqqani does not face a threat to his life if he came back to Pakistan to depose? Come on, My Lords, we are all Pakistanis and we all KNOW the dangers that lurk against those who are the perceived enemies of the Deep State. Go on: give him the same rights as you gave to that ludicrous man.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2012.
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