The memogate scandal has provoked questions about the influence of the civilian government in Pakistan and created the impression that the army is pulling the levers of power, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said in an interview with the BBC.
However, Khar added, it was “ridiculous” to link President Asif Ali Zardari with the controversial note. “Sadly it does. I cannot deny that, and that’s an unfortunate part that something as ludicrous as this could raise more questions.
“It doesn’t take much to be able to raise those questions,” Khar said. Asked if President Zardari would survive if he was linked to the scandal, Khar said, “I cannot even answer that question because it is ridiculous ... to associate him with this particular memo”.
The Pakistan government would conduct an inquiry “at the highest level” into the controversy to satisfy “all parties, all people, all constituencies who have raised concerns over this entire issue”, she said, adding, “We would hope that this is where it should and will stop.” It is “not yet clear” that Haqqani “had any role to play” in the matter. “He was asked to resign so the inquiry process could be transparent and that is something that should be appreciated,” Khar added.
In response to another question, Khar said Pakistan had not arranged any more meetings between the Haqqani network and US officials except one meeting that was held earlier this year. “Pakistan cannot guarantee anything [with regard to the Haqqani network]. We have said this very clearly. We can play a positive role but it has to be at the request of the Afghans,” she said.
Khar further said she was not worried about the risk of the US administration cutting off aid for Pakistan. “Let me just say clearly that we over project the dependency syndrome of Pakistan on US assistance. We could do without it. If the feeling in the US Congress is that we have done too much for Pakistan, the feeling in the Pakistani Parliament is that you’ve done too less.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2011.
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