Dial M for Memo

Published: December 17, 2011
The writer is executive director special projects at ARY News and was previously director news at Dunya TV (2010-11) and Express News (2006-2010)

The writer is executive director special projects at ARY News and was previously director news at Dunya TV (2010-11) and Express News (2006-2010)

Memo mayhem and manipulating mercenaries are mercilessly mauling a meek government and a once malleable and now missing president. The mercurial nature of Pakistan’s mostly messy and often medieval Machiavellian politics is once again on full display, presenting mere mortals with a set of unenviable choices to choose from.

What joy.

In this side of the ring is the financially-compromised, competency-challenged, rapacious, weak and lying government. Facing it is the all-powerful, omnipotent, snaring and hissing Establishment. In the middle is the sleazy, devious and probably wired Pakistan-American operator with an ego the size of Minnesota. The referee is brandishing a lethal gavel which resembles Thor’s hammer. Let the games begin.

Tomorrow all gather in the capital’s Colosseum to plead the lost innocence they never had. The Wise Men will sit in judgement on the memo and perhaps on the future of the republic too. But something funny is happening. The hearings, already begun in the court of public opinion, have turned into a trial and the trial has turned into a circus.

M for Mayhem? Consider this: M is for the Mystery why all the statements submitted to the Supreme Court (SC) are out there in the public arena to debate, discuss and dissect. Mansoor Ijaz’s 81-page submission was circulated within hours of being received. The much-awaited responses from the government, COAS and DG ISI were splashed across screens moments after they were handed over to the registrar. Then James Jones’ sworn statement was promptly released to the media by Husain Haqaani’s lawyers. Now everyone can compare, contrast and make his own judgement. Who needs the CJ when I can be my own CJ?

M is for the Military which doesn’t even pretend to go along with the government version. The COAS may spend three hours with the PM, closeted in a one-on-one meeting, and the government may issue conciliatory sounding statements after the Kayani-Gilani huddle, but this doesn’t wash the ink off the military statement to the SC. In fact, it’s rather interesting to compare and contrast the statements of the COAS and the DG ISI. While the former has taken refuge in bland language and non-committal positioning, the latter makes it clear the memo is a real deal and SC should demand forensic examination of computers and BlackBerrys.

M is for the Methodology of submissions to the SC. There was breathless anticipation about how the government and the military would approach the court. If the military decided to send its statements directly to the court through its JAG Branch, would it mean it was differing with the government’s version? As it so happened, the pundits were yet again trumped by the military. The GHQ killed two birds with one stone. It sent its reply through the attorney general, but still took a completely different position than the government. Here’s another puzzler: COAS’ statement is signed by a brigadier of the JAG Branch. The DG ISI’s statement is personally submitted, signed “A.S. Pasha”.

M is for the Maddening machinations of the Monaco-based Mansoor Ijaz and how he has got the politics of Pakistan spinning around his manipulative fingers. His meticulously-timed morsels of information for the media ensure the plot continues to thicken with every twist and turn. The one-man PR machine that he is, Mansoor has now fired off a rejoinder to his friend James Jones’ testimony, thereby ensuring that the former NSA’s attempt to puncture his narrative is called to question.

M is for the Media and its undisguised glee at playing the role of judge, jury and executioner. From chronicler to conspirator, the media is driving, defining and even destablising the volatile situation as it unfolds moment-by-moment. Now media mandarins will also appear in court to testify if the petition by the PML-N’s Ishaq Dar and Khawaja Asif is admitted for hearing. A Mansoor-Media-Military conspiracy? The government would gladly agree.

M is for March and the Senate elections due that month. The oracle of our times, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, is peddling the theory that March is when all the mayhem will reach a conclusion. The Ides of March threaten the government, he says, because the government will ultimately step on to the memo minefield and be blown to smithereens. March, however, is still a long way off. Tomorrow is not.

So M is for Monday when the morbid, the macabre and the malicious meet to mull the matter of the memo.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • Khan Jr
    Dec 18, 2011 - 12:23AM

    M is for the Machiavellian schemers who have laid the country low for the past 60 years.

    M is also for the powerful ego-Maniacs who are bent on manipulating all to their will


  • hahaha
    Dec 18, 2011 - 1:03AM

    very funny :D thank u


    Dec 18, 2011 - 1:19AM

    excellent summarization of events


  • Thinktank
    Dec 18, 2011 - 2:20AM

    Well said… Also M is for motherland- the entity which is ultimately going to pay the price for whatever the outcome is…


  • Dec 18, 2011 - 2:25AM

    M is for Muppets.. a breed of puppets.. and every puppet has its master.


  • Mirza
    Dec 18, 2011 - 3:25AM

    Your Op Ed would be funny if it were not true. Mansoor Ijaz is a mini Donald Trump of America, always hungry for Media, Money and meddling in foreign countries. Both of these men have miserably failed to be a political figure and cannot win any election, hence poking their nose in foreign fragile countries. Gen. Jones has a lot more respect and proven track record of integrity than the money hungry maniacs. In addition, the US generals do not lie to their superiors and their nation. They tell exactly what they believe is true to the best of their knowledge and info. No country would be this naïve and fragile to hop to one foreigner’s allegations as if there is no other problems in the country.


  • Dec 18, 2011 - 3:48AM

    Sir, BIG FAN. Just like your shows, innovative write up. In the pick-a-stone-and-find-a-journalist times, it’s hard to stand out and have your own style. But you have effortlessly done so. Surely , it is because of your intelligence and beautiful mind.


  • zeeshan bhaddar
    Dec 18, 2011 - 3:56AM

    i would like to answer regarding shuja pasha response with his signature to SC because he was in petition in his personal capacity not by his institutes…u might be laughing at me as now not only media even public is CJ in their capacity and me is the example :)


  • Tilsim
    Dec 18, 2011 - 5:16AM

    Thank you, terribly troll and tantalisingly terrific tamasha!


  • Junaid
    Dec 18, 2011 - 5:17AM

    M is for the ridiculous masters who have made the life of an average Pakistani more Miserable.


  • basharat
    Dec 18, 2011 - 5:19AM

    What will be the fate of the so called Memogate scandel the Supreme will decide, nevertheless, it has become proven that a civil government in Pakistan is so regile, that it can be destabilized through an unproven piece of a writing. The so called Memo had been given a vide publicity which it did not deserve. It is known to every body that some opposition parties are determined to remove the present Government before holding incoming Senate Elections in March 2012.
    The Memo is geuine or not, however, it is undeniable reality that the hype and manoeuvres, which had been created in this regard, has caused irreparable loss to the Country. We should learn to control our emotions and allow reason to prevail over the culture of unruly mobs.


  • vineet
    Dec 18, 2011 - 5:28AM

    maybe many many days later, when the mighty military monarchy will answer to the meek,and messy civilian government, and the malleable civilian leaders will in turn be truly answerable to all the mortal men (awam) irrespective of their meager monetary might, we may have peace otherwise all the mysterious manifestations even the so called maddening machinations will most certainly end in mayhem!Recommend

  • You Said It
    Dec 18, 2011 - 5:40AM

    M is for the machinations of the mafia of malevolent militaristic malcontents against the merry widower with the mediocre mind.


  • R Choudhry
    Dec 18, 2011 - 7:23AM

    M is for Mansoor Ijaz

    You forgot the most important M!


  • adeel759
    Dec 18, 2011 - 8:23AM

    M for Mukao Jamhooriyat and M for “Macho Men At their Best”


  • yousaf
    Dec 18, 2011 - 10:40AM

    M is for Memory erased of Salala by other Ms.M also is for Memory to be erased about Millions Mourning for the loved-ones lost during last thirty years of Merciless and Meaningless war


  • Dec 18, 2011 - 12:16PM

    M is for Media Mafia


  • Xam Xaffa
    Dec 18, 2011 - 12:36PM

    Great Writing! LoL.


  • Nabeel Shaikh
    Dec 18, 2011 - 1:05PM

    M is for Musharaf !!


  • Naan Haleem
    Dec 18, 2011 - 2:12PM

    Cant we dial M for Muk-Muka????


  • Parvez
    Dec 18, 2011 - 2:44PM

    …..and this too shall pass.


  • Ishrat Salim
    Dec 18, 2011 - 4:06PM

    This is just great !….M is for marvellous writing….Recommend

  • x
    Dec 18, 2011 - 6:24PM



  • Dec 18, 2011 - 6:27PM

    Excellent article. What couldn’t be stressed more is the role of media in the entire fiasco. If media is allowed to prosecute and rule pre-handedly, before the case even went to the court, what’s the role of judiciary anyway. Pakistani media continues to take dangerous, unprofessional leeways over political issues and if it continues the course, it may itself be the largest political party in Pakistan (which in a way it is, given the shameless support extended by media giants to specific political parties, overlooking the mistakes and avoiding criticisms of that party consequently).


  • Faisal Warraich
    Dec 20, 2011 - 3:56PM

    We are king makers of non-issues.


  • Azeem Khan
    Dec 21, 2011 - 7:52PM

    M for Marvellous, very nicely written


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