Common sense is rare in the Islamic Republic — it is verging on the moribund. In the matter of the mystery memo, by and large the media have ignored the fact that it involves one man’s word against another man’s word, nothing more and, without any evidence or pondering, guilt has been attributed by many.
In the interest of avoiding comment, let us just look at some of the more sane quotable quotes from the English press from November 17-30.
Headline : “Who’s lying to whom — and why?”
Comment: “The more likely, though far from certain, scenario? The boys are up to their tricks again. What could they want is one of several things, or perhaps none of them. Finally get the scalp of the intensely disliked Husain Haqqani? Install favourites in key policy and diplomatic slots? More extensions? Just as likely it could be murky stuff that you and I know nothing about…”.
Editorial under the title “Dirty tricks brigade at it again”: “Why so much attention is being given to a shady character like Mansoor Ijaz is beyond comprehension. A man whose credibility in the international arena is murky to say the least, is being believed over Pakistan’s ambassador, who has served our country in the most difficult of times…. To jump to conclusions on the basis of spurious allegations is not appropriate.”
Comment: “in the light of developments from November 17 onwards, the name that would head my list of suspects would no longer be Zardari but our venerable and dearly beloved Uncle; Uncle Sam! From the day Uncle Sam discovered that… Kayani and Pasha are no pushovers there has been a deliberate campaign launched by the US administration to vilify and embarrass both.”
Comment: “the end result is that the Pakistani establishment and media have been put in a trap set by Mansoor and his American masters. It was a sting operation that bit Haqqani and Pakistan.”
Editorial: “such is the poverty of philosophy, the Pakistani media has trained its gun sites on the Pakistani diplomat and elected government who are both charged with ‘conspiring against the state’. This is an extraordinary statement.”
Another editorial: “Husain Haqqani, a civilian ambassador of repute, has been forced to resign at the behest of the military establishment even before any commission of enquiry has been set up to investigate his alleged culpability in any ‘treasonable’ activity.”
Comment: “Mansoor Ijaz is a man desperate to be recognised… when asked, he was more than willing to take centre stage. Also, he is an American citizen and will do what is needed to enhance American interest. You can’t blame the poor chap for his patriotism…. The effects will reverberate far and long into the coming elections which could, as a consequence, be forced earlier than time. In a morally correct society, a political system under such clouds of suspicion will refer itself back to the electorate for a fresh mandate.” [Luckily for the political system, the Salala attack has come to its rescue.]
Editorial: “And if Haqqani does leave his post, we will have lost our most effective lobbyist for the country, one who kept US aid flowing…”.
And another: “The immediate impact for Pakistan will be a vacuum in Washington DC, arguably the most important foreign capital….Haqqani’s shoes, however, may be difficult to fill because, if anything, he was good at his job…”.
Now we must wish Sherry Rehman the very best in her fraught new job. She is listed at No. 47 on the Foreign Policy list of 100 global thinkers who make up the “global marketplace of ideas”.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2011.