KARACHI: This is with reference to your ongoing coverage of the controversy surrounding the much-talked-about memo and Ambassador Husain Haqqani’s fate. Clearly, the points mentioned in the memo and what it aimed at doing is disturbing. The fact of the matter is that the civilian leadership has had ample opportunity to establish its authority over all institutions of state, including the military, but it has failed to grab it. Also, the act of writing such a memo and then routing it through a foreign state is not exactly a correct approach to follow.
In a nutshell, the memo could have provided an opportunity to the US to target the Pakistan Army and the ISI by giving play to the perception that it is they and not the president who call the shots in the country. This propaganda is primarily against the president since only recently he made a very sensible statement saying that US officials should not link financial assistance with Pakistani action against the Haqqani network. Furthermore, one also has to consider the fact that any statement that tends to create fissures between the civilian government and the military at this point in time will be particularly damaging because Pakistan is carrying out operations against the Taliban.
As for the ISI, it is manned by professionals and functions on clear lines of action. It is wrong to say that it acts on its own in rogue fashion or that it seeks to undermine the nation. In that context, the memo is nothing really but a crude attempt to create doubts about the efficacy of the country’s political leadership and insinuate that it is trying to make the military and the ISI follow America’s dictates.
And since the government has denied having sent the memo it is all the more reason that those responsible for it be brought to book. This is an issue of national importance involving the country’s security and must therefore be given high priority.
Lt-Col (r) Mukhtar Ahmed Butt
Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2011.